IDEA BRIDGE – Malawi at the Crossroads
22 December 2013
The Republic of Malawi is fast approaching its May 2014 Tri-partite Elections. These elections mark another important moment for democratic progression in Malawi as the country has seen radical changes in its political landscape since its last election event.
International IDEA organised a BRIDGE workshop on Media and Election for a group of stakeholders in Malawi. The workshop took place from 25th to 27th November 2013 at the Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.
The target audience for this workshop were key stakeholders in the electoral process:
a) Commissioners of the Malawi EMB
b) Leaders of Political Parties officially contesting the elections + 1 party member
c) Members of state and Independent/ Private media
d) Civil society groups that are accredited by MEC to conduct civic education regarding the next elections
While the role of the media in ensuring electoral integrity is critical, it is often misunderstood or under-estimated. Indeed, as evidence globally, the media can ‘make’ or ‘break’ an election. It can either open up the space for fair and transparent political competition, or as has been witnessed in various African countries, be used as an instrument to ‘marginalise’ contestants or worse, stir election related violence in the build-up and immediately following an electoral event. In the Malawi context, the role of the media within the context of elections and of course, the overall electoral process, has received little attention.