Lilongwe, Malawi : Veteran journalist Al Osman has tipped Malawian journalists to desist from what he described as “praise and worship” kind of reporting if they are to create impact in their work.
The founder and CEO of Capital FM issued the tip during a “Reporting Children Symposium” jointly organised by the Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) and UNICEF in Lilongwe on Friday.
“The problem starts in the way we address those in authority. Sometimes we call them names that elevate them beyond an extent where we can hold them to account,” he said, stressing the need for being highly analytical and objective.
Osman however observed that as a result of the ‘Praise and Worship’ kind of journalism, some journalists have focused on stories that praise those in authority at the expense of issues that expose how those in authority fail in their duty to protect vulnerable groups including women and children.
MISA Malawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga reiterated the assertions made by Osman, further calling on media practitioners to depart from past notion that children do not make better news sources.
“Good reporting considers children as independent human beings. Child rights should be seen as human rights. As a matter of principle, violation of their rights should be looked at with contempt,” said Ndanga.
She expressed optimism that with the growing interest and passion in reporting children, things will get better.
In his remarks, Director of Information in the Ministry of Information Mzati Nkolokosa called on journalists to embrace Investigative Journalism on matters related to children.
“Sometimes government is not aware of some of the issues going on. It is therefore the role of Investigative Journalists to bring such hidden information to the attention of those in authority,” observed Nkolokosa.
UNICEF Malawi’s Communications Officer Rebecca Phwitiko hailed the partnership between MIJ and the media to ensure ethical journalism practice on matters of children.
“This partnership will go a long way in improving the reporting of children’s issues in the country’s media,” she said.
The symposium drew participants from the Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ), MISA Malawi, Child Rights NGOs and Media Practitioners from various media houses.