Media shun local government, parliament in coverage of electoral process, IWPR report

Blantyre, The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) report indicates that media houses shun reporting on local government and parliament, which it says will badly affect communities in making informed decisions during voting.

Speaking during a press briefing held in Blantyre on Friday, Chancellor College Media Reporting Project Team Leader, Edrinnie Kayambazinthu, said coverage of local government and parliamentary electoral process is crucial as most communities get to know the candidates’ manifestos through the media.

Not all people in the communities will be aware of the plans the aspiring councillors and Members of Parliament have towards the development of their areas, hence the possibility of choosing a candidate who will not deliver, said kayambazinthu.

According to the report on newspaper coverage on tripartite elections, the media has given six percent coverage to local government while 75 per cent has been on presidential issues.

On television stations, four percent has been given to local government and parliamentary related issues while 64 per cent to presidential issues.

The report further says the radio stations have dedicated seven per cent to local government issues while they have dedicated 48 per cent to presidential issues.

Kayambazinthu further said the unfair coverage is happening against the lobbying efforts by both Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and Media Institute of Southern Malawi (MISA) for fair coverage.

The report, which covers 1534 articles aired and published from March 21 to April 2 in 37 media platforms, including televisions, social media, radios and newspapers, was among other things monitoring the balanced coverage between Presidential, Parliamentary and local elections.

The research team is expected to release its next report in two weeks and a final report after the elections.

Source: MANA Online