Archive

Tag Archives: Technology

access-to-information

WITHOUT MANY people realising it, the world has been plunged into a raging Information war of epic magnitude. That we are not seeing jets flying, tanks invading countries and missiles fired does not mean nothing is going on. It took one of the world’s biggest powers, the United States of America (USA) to bring the rest of the world closer to confronting a truth that has been lurking for a while now.

The US election last November yielded what some people describe as a ‘surprise’ outcome. But if you were really paying attention, the emergence of president-elect, Donald Trump, as victor is hardly a surprise. To pay attention, however, sometimes requires that you do not pay attention to certain things as well. And, when it comes to Media – mainstream media especially – paying less attention has profound merit.

To his credit, Trump understood this point very well and made sure it was central to how he ran his campaign. He not only cast aspersions on mainstream broadcast media like Cable News Network (CNN) and print media like The New York Times, but he went further to directly tell these media exactly what he thought of them – lapdogs being stroked by their masters (The Establishment) so that no change happens, and millions of Americans continue to be disenfranchised. Read More

Advertisements

Continued from last week

The epic failure by president Mutharika’s government to release information about his whereabouts while in the US point to the poverty of mind with which successive governments in Malawi have been run. It seems we have remained stuck in the 1964 time-warp, where the government is supposed to be a feared institution, with citizens playing a subservient role in it.

This is very unfortunate and Malawians have to take the blame for allowing this to happen to them. Ordinarily, governments are supposed to be at the service of the people, not the other way around. We do not exist for purposes of stroking the ego of the government. On the contrary, any serious government ought to ensure that it meets the expectations of its citizens by being accountable to them. Doing this is not a favour, it is the ultimate duty of a government towards its citizens. Read More

Information is power, they say. And, an informed citizenry makes informed decisions. Media play a crucial role in mediating the space between citizens and institutions that make up the State. This allows media to operate within a framework that should be biased towards the most marginalised, dispossessed and silenced in society. eu-media-futures-forum-pic_0

Although we live in an Information Age, values that are at the heart of journalism have never changed –pursuing of Social Justice. As journalists try to fulfil this mandate, they soon discover who the enemies of social justice are. In most societies, these are the rich, powerful and famous, men and women of influence and in whose interest social justice must not be a reality. Read More

AS YET another conference confirmed what we already know about the state of young people in Malawi, yet another girl, aged below 16, was reportedly raped by her schoolteacher. In a normal society, a schoolteacher is a trusted citizen, a custodian of the values we seek to impart on our children and the embodiment of uprightness and integrity.

Children scavenge for maize floor at a maize mill in the hunger stricken southern district of Chikwawa.

Children scavenge for maize floor at a maize mill in the hunger stricken southern district of Chikwawa. What does the future hold for them? pic: Thoko Chikondi 

In Malawi, however, we have successfully normalised the abnormal. We are long past the stage at which, even in the midst of fierce contradictions, we can claim some semblance of normalcy. We are an abnormal country, with abnormal people, abnormal attitudes and quite frankly, abnormal citizenship.

In 2016, the rape of a minor is casually reported as normal occurrence. In the same year, the abnormality of public service delivery – unprecedented electricity and water cuts – is accepted without question, government excesses are cheered at and mediocrity (a national pastime and identity) is celebrated.

The said conference, on National Population and Development, ended on a very sobering note last Thursday in Lilongwe, exposing the extent to which we have normalised the abnormal. In short, unless something is done URGENTLY, the free-fall this country is in will take generations, if not centuries to arrest and centuries more to restore Malawi on a path of genuine progress. Restoration assumes, of course, that there has previously been a time in which Malawi was on the path of progress. Read More