Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has assured journalists that his administration remains firm in upholding the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi by, among others, respecting and promoting freedom of expression.
Chakwera was speaking at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Wednesday when he treated journalists to a sumptuous breakfast to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day, which falls on May 3 every
The President said he remains committed to ensuring that Malawians enjoy freedom of expression, which said is a prerequisite in a democratic society.
“And so I want to assure you today, that so long as I am President, I will continue to fulfill the oath that I took to uphold the Constitution of this our Republic, in which are enshrined all the freedoms and rights we enjoy, and my administration will continue to promote and protect freedom of expression because this is the driver of your ability as a free press to promote and protect all our other freedoms and rights,” he said.
President Chakwera saluted journalists for the role they are playing in promoting freedom of expression in Malawi.
He said the media demonstrated zeal to create space for free speech and allowing citizens to actively participate in the social and economic discourses.
“My own interpretation of this is that no matter what other human rights we enjoy, we cannot promote or protect them without using our right to express ourselves freely. So if you want to protect or promote someone’s right to life, say it publicly and loudly. If you want to protect or promote someone’s right to movement, say it publicly and loudly. If you want to protect or promote someone’s right to associate with a group or religion of their choice, say it publicly and loudly,” he said.
Added Chakwera, “If you want to protect or promote someone’s right to speak, say it publicly and loudly. If you want to protect or promote someone’s right to a fair trial, say it publicly and loudly. In other words, freedom of expression and freedom of the press is not just a right. It is a sacred responsibility we must take seriously because the promotion and protection of all other rights depends on it.”
But the Malawi leader was quick to caution journalists against engaging in corruption practices, fearing this could derail the promotion of all human rights.
‘When all the weapons, all the money, all the laws, all the institutions, all the governments, and all the borders in the world are no longer available or able to defend, promote, and protect any of our rights, our freedom of expression and freedom of the press are our last line of defense, and if we allow our last line of defense to be abused, desecrated, or corrupted, then we leave the gates to all our other freedoms open to attack,” said Chakwera.