3 May 2023
"Freedom of the press and expression is a sacred responsibility we must all take seriously and never abuse. It is our last line of defence."
His Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chawera, has emphasized his commitment to uphold freedom of the press and freedom of expression during his term of office.
According to him, these fundamental rights are crucial in maintaining a democratic society.
In his own words, "Freedom of the press and expression is a sacred responsibility we must all take seriously and never abuse. It is our last line of defence."
President Chakwera was speaking at a breakfast which he organized for media practitioners at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, as part of the celebration for this year’s World Press Freedom Day, which falls under the theme, “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights”
Speaking at the event, Minister of Information, Moses Kunkuyu, echoed the President's words by stating that government will continuously review policies regarding media and will always engage with the media as a fourth arm of government.
Kent Mphepo who is the Director of Communication at State House also speaking at the function, thanked President Chakwera for his commitment to protecting the freedom of the media.
He said since the time he took office, President Chakwera has shown great commitment to safeguarding media freedom, saying that the signing of the Access To Information bill is a confirmation that President Chakwera is in the forefront of promoting freedom of the press.
Tereza Ndanga, Chairperson for MISA Malawi, expressed her gratitude to President Chakwera for inviting the media to Kamuzu Palace. She emphasized that freedom of expression is a fundamental right and thanked the President for repealing certain laws that posed a threat to media freedom. These laws included the sedition laws and other laws related to freedom. In the past, previous administrations would use these laws to silence the media.
World Press Freedom Day is celebrated annually on May 3rd to raise awareness about the importance of press freedom and to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.