Journalists in the country have been urged to dwell on positive reporting on issues to do with Covid 19 vaccines to avoid creating panic and confusion among Malawians.
Senior Health Promotion Officer in the Ministry of Health Alvin Chidothi Phiri, said this in Zomba district on Tuesday when opening a 3 days’ workshop organized by Save the Children aimed at equipping journalists from community media houses with skills on accurate reporting and countering myths and misconceptions surrounding Covid 19 vaccines.
He also advised the journalists to seek information from credible sources before airing any materials in line with Covid 19 vaccine.
He said: “lack of accurate and trustworthy information on Covid -19 vaccines can lead to rumors and misinformation, resulting in panic, chaos or practices that put people at even more risk of not accessing vaccine therefore journalist from community radio stations should help to counter incorrect information”
Concurring with Phiri is, Area Operations Manager for the Southern and Eastern region of Malawi for Save the Children Thokozani Bema, urged journalist and community radio stations to provide the public with accurate information when disseminating information on Covid 19 vaccines.
However, Bema noted that sustained efforts of community radio stations by airing informative programs on Covid vaccination has translated in increased community participation in the on -going vaccine drive.
“Journalists play a critical role in disseminating information .As such, there is need for them to provide the public with accurate information as well as identifying misconceptions so that they can come up with quality information.
“We have all experienced the impact of Covid 19 in terms of people that have died, schools and business that have been closed and in all this, as save the children we know it impact on children and the cost is just too huge hence the intervention with journalists from community radio stations to minimize the impact of Covid -19 in the country,” Bema said
Mwai Mathewa, one of the participants, from Ndirande FM, said the workshop has come at a right time as there are growing misconceptions and myths on covid-19 vaccine among people in country.
“This workshop has come in good time as we are struggling to convince Malawians about the importance of Covid 19 vaccine and a number of them which is not conversant about the vaccine is large in our communities,” She said
The workshop was attended by journalists from Mzati Radio and Televison ,Dzimwe Community radio Station, Yoneco Fm ,Chanco radio ,Ndirande Fm ,Lilanguka FM ,and Radio Maria.