Government of Malawi has enforced a Night Curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. under the gazetted Covid-19 prevention, containment and management rules which stipulates that no person must be found wandering around socially between the stated hours.
In view of the curfew, MISA Malawi is calling upon all journalists to ensure that they possess and always carry with them a valid Media Council of Malawi [MCM] accreditation or Employment ID at all times.
MISA Malawi says it engaged the Malawi Police Service [MPS] after noticing that the curfew has the potential to affect the work of journalists, especially those working during these hours.
In the statement dated 20 January 2021 signed by its chairperson, Teresa Temweka Ndanga, MISA Malawi says the Police have assured the organization that journalists, by the nature of their work, will be treated as those belonging to the essential services group as long as they have IDs and or demonstrate proof of work.
MISA Malawi is urging law enforcement agencies and police officers to ensure that media freedom, freedom of expression and right to information are safeguarded during the period of implementation of the Covid-19 containment rules.
The organization is appealing to all journalists to read, understand and strictly adhere to the Covid-19 containment rules and work together with security officers on duty where necessary.
…….”The media is among essential services under Schedule 7 of the rules and we urge journalists and the media in general to utilize this opportunity to provide accurate and credible information as we all strive to contain the pandemic,’’…..reads the statement in part.
MISA Malawi is appealing to media houses to help in fighting fake news around the pandemic and create a positive narrative that gives hope while underscoring the importance of strict adherence to Covid-19 preventive measures.
The organization is also advising journalists and media houses to ensure strict observance to all Covid-19 preventive measures and quickly seek medical and psychosocial support when need arises, urging journalists to stay safe.
By Vincent Gunde