Saturday, 5 October 2013

Closing remarks for journalists training in Mzuzu by MEC DCEO (Operations)

Online media houses pose with Mr Potani after signing for media
 code of conduct

  •   The Lead Facilitator, Dr Levi Manda,
  • All participants 
  •   MES secretariat staff

I am glad that the mission we gathered here for the past three day has been accomplished. As I said during the opening, MEC is eager to build the capacity of all electoral stakeholders so that we move together in preparation for the 2014 Tripartite Elections.

I should thank all of you for taking time to attend this training. It is not an easy thing to have a group of journalists like this one when conducting meetings in the North. The fact that you participated and actively for that matter throughout the three days signifies the importance you attach to elections.

The objective of this training was to equip you with knowledge and information about electoral processes and also refresh your journalistic skills. We believe with full knowledge about electoral processes and your good journalism skills you can write even better stories or produce better programmes that will help build an informed citizenry.

As media you have a responsibility of interpreting complex knowledge for the populace. You cannot play this role if you do not understand electoral issues yourself. But after this training I have full confidence that you will now play your role in an excellent manner. I would also encourage you to share with your colleagues who may not have had the opportunity to participate in this training. 

As a Commission this is not the end of our interaction and relationship with you, our door will remain open to suggestions and ideas from you on how we can conduct better elections. We will continue being a friend of the media and we will provide you with as much information as possible. As a Commission we also expect feedback from you.

By the very nature of your work, you interact with a lot of persons whom the Commission may not have the opportunity to meet directly but they have issues which are pertinent and requiring the attention of the Commission. I encourage you to give us feedback on such issues.

The Commission is an open society. It exists to serve the nation and not a particular group within the nation.  All our efforts are a service to the nation. Any information that relates to the elections, please if in doubt check with the Commission before publishing.  It is the wish of the Commission to have a well enlightened electorate so that they make informed decisions on the ballot.

As the Lead facilitator mentioned, this was also emphasized by other two facilitators.  I will also repeat.  You should encourage people, eligible voters first of all to register and secondly and most importantly to participate in the voting.  Let the public know that our political leaders are put in office through our vote.  If people do not turn out to vote, the might give room to the election of bad leaders.  Let people know that it is their right to register and vote in elections.  

Today, the online media have signed for the media code of conduct. This is a symbol that the Commission is broadening its base of stakeholders. We value any contribution by any stakeholder towards the 2014 elections. It is our sincere expectation that you, online media houses, will abide by the code of conduct and shake off the perception that you are unethical. I urge you to read the code of conduct and always remember its provisions whenever you are publishing your articles. 

With these remarks, I have the honour to declare the training closed.
I wish all of you a safe travel back home.

May God bless you all.

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