Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has challenged the media to report accurately the proceedings of the public accounts hearing conducted at Parliament.
The Chairperson for the Committee, Lekeni Menyani made the call on during an interface meeting with editors from various media houses in Lilongwe.
He said the media has a critical role to play in ensuring that observations made by the committee from Auditors’ General reports are accurately reported.
The Chairperson explained that the Committee regards the media as partners in development and it is viewed as the fourth arm of government provides checks and balances.
Menyani, however, asked the media to refrain from quoting individual members of the committee but should instead attribute the committee’s resolutions to the chairperson.
He said his committee received complaints from members that the media was directly quoting them contrary to standing orders of Parliament which requires that attribution of the committee proceedings should be made to the chairperson.
“My committee has received two complaints from some members who were directly quoted during proceedings and the outcome is not conducive; it is having political connotations. We are in the committee to save the nation and not to tow any political line,” the Chairperson explained.
Assistant Clerk of Parliament responsible for Protocol and Public Relations, Leonard Mengezi said parliament valued the relationship that exists with the media.
He said Parliament would ensure that the media in the country is well conversant with the conduct and proceedings of parliament.
“As secretariat, we are developing a training concept for the media houses in the country aimed at orienting them on how best they could provide better coverage of the parliamentary and committee proceedings without compromising their work,” Mengezi said.
Recently, there were reports that the media was barred from covering the ongoing hearing on the Auditor General’s reports during which the committee is scrutinizing public accounts from 2013 to 2015 financial years.
However, the committee chairperson disclosed that the ban has been lifted and the media will start covering the proceedings from Monday, October 9, 2017.
“The issues of audits are of national importance and the public need to know what really happened to the government coffers. If there are issues of corruption or maladministration let the media inform the nation without fear or favour,” Menyani added.
Media houses that attended the interface meeting include Malawi New Agency (MANA), Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Nations Publications, Times Group, Zodiak Broadcasting Services (ZBS), Capital Radio and MIJ radio.