I will never forget the post elections briefings, but one that still stands out is the day the Banda journalists shocked the world.
While all the eyes of the world were on Malawi, the commercial media journalists represented the drunk uncle of the family who spoils the wedding. They were the worst embarrassment to the nation.
They asked questions that only exposed their ignorance or political bias. Almost ninety per cent of them went to the press briefings unprepared.
I am not going to talk about the young “journalist” who said, “I like your earrings” to Dr Ansah, making a fool of himself in front of the whole world. But I want to deal with Brian Banda of Times and Mavuto Banda who freelances for Reuters.
The two Banda journalists are well-known names in Malawi, and quite influential. But their quality of journalism has been severely damaged by their political bias and deep personal hatred for the ruling party.
In one of the briefings by the MEC Chair, Brian Banda and Mavuto Banda lost their tempers.
After the MEC reported that there were numerous complaints they were dealing with, the two Banda “journalists” asked the MEC to “name the perpetrators” reported for those cases. The MEC responded that complaints came from different political parties, not one party.
But Mavuto Banda would have none of it. Mavuto Banda got visibly angry with veins popping on his forehead. He said to the MEC Chair, Dr Anshah, “Say it! Say it! Tell us who is messing up the election. Say it that it is DPP that is reported and is messing up the election!”
A great silence fell at COMESA hall.
Brian Banda also followed through with his line of questions but pushing the same narrative. Both Banda “journalists” just wanted the MEC to associate the DPP with the queries raised at the MEC.
Their political bias was not only shocking but a disgrace to journalism, especially Malawi’s journalism.
People knew that journalistic ethics do not exist in Malawi’s commercial media, but little did we know that the rot runs so deep. “Journalists” permanently suspend their roles to behave as propagandists for the opposition party.
In Malawi, the objectivity of journalism is interpreted as an open display of blind hatred of the government and the ruling DPP. You must protect and babysit the opposition, then you are seen as “objective”. What a shame!
If there was any respect that the world may have had for the Banda journalists, it left the day they openly humiliated themselves in front of the whole world.
Brian Banda and Mavuto Banda will remain the skunks in Malawi’s newsrooms.
It is high time that MISA and the media fraternity asks itself serious questions around journalistic ethics.