NICE Partners the media to consolidate democracy

BLANTYRE, The National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with three media clubs across Malawi to cement their working relationship ahead of the 2019 polls.

The three media groupings are Kabula Press Club in the Southern Region, Bwaila Press club in the central Region and Nyika press club in the Northern Region.

NICE’s Executive Director Ollen Mwalubunju said they have decided to partner with the media since they are experts in communication who can effectively enhance good governance through civic educating the public.

Mwalubunju said both NICE and the media will identify areas of mutual interest and come up with civic education activities to be conducted across the county.

Some journalists do not have adequate skills on issues of good governance and democracy. Through the MOU, NICE will train them to properly report on issues on governance thereby not misleading the public on democracy, Mwalubunju said.

He said Nice has over 8,000 volunteers across the country and urged the media to work with them saying they have an avalanche of information on governance at grass roots level.

The signing of MOU comes barely a week after NICE launched a five-year Multi Annual Estimate Programme (MAPE) whose theme is ‘Strengthening Accountability, Transparency and Responsiveness among Malawians’.

MAPE aims at promoting democratic governance and active participation of citizens in decision making processes to enable citizens in holding those in elected positions accountable for their actions.

Mwalubunju said MAPE will bear the desired fruits if the media takes a leading role in educating the masses about their civil rights.

Chairperson for Bwaila Media Club Wisdom Chimgwede described the signing of the MOU as historical and timely arguing that in the past, NICE worked with the media without any binding document.

Chimgwede said this is timely considering that 2019 elections are fast approaching and political parties are preparing for campaigns.

NICE and the Media have the noble duty to ensure that people get to 2019 polls with knowledge that will enable them make informed decisions before they choose candidates, Chimgwede said.

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi’s National Governance Council member Mandy Pondani hailed NICE for the partnership emphasizing that a well-informed media does not misinform and mislead the public.

The MOU between NICE and three media clubs is for a period of three years starting from January 2018.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA