“Only god knows the truth” isn’t good enough
I’ve been tuning in to Malawian current events to prepare for my placement as the media rights print officer at the Daily Times newspaper in Blantyre beginning January 2012.
Through a mix of online news articles, Facebook group posts and Twitter feeds I’ve begun to build files on political, economic, legal and human rights issues – the coming 2014 presidential election, the arrest of the former general manager of the Malawi Housing Corporation on corruption charges, the emergent uranium mining industry, the Law Commission’s charge to review repressive sections of the Penal Code and Police Act, various student protests and the use of force by the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to put a stop to them, to name a few.
A shortage of story ideas at pitch meetings certainly won’t be a challenge I’ll face.
Although I can’t claim a full understanding of all factors embroiled in these issues from my office in Ontario, I have observed explicit tones of distrust in government as well as an indirect disenchantment with the efficacy of the media to attain and issue the truth.
Coincidentally a comment posted by a user under the name “truth” has been my most recent motivator.
Under “University student death ruled suicide –police”, a September 25 Nyasa Times’ article referring to fourth-year engineering student and political activist Robert Chasowa who was found dead on September 24 at the Polytechnic, the commenter posted:
“onry (sic) God knows the truth to those behind this murder,may (sic) Robert’s soul rest in perfect peace.”
The sentiment of the comment stopped me mid-scroll – that a commenter could be so ready to assume that transparency and accountability were out of reach.
So strengthens my resolve. As the media rights print intern I will promote rights media – the process of writing, collecting, editing, producing and distributing media that creates societal dialogue on human rights issues – in Malawi.
Because I believe in the power of open and free discussion to create positive change.
Because “only god knows the truth” isn’t good enough.