Football Journalists in Malawi have denounced the Sports Writer Association of Malawi (SWAM) and unveiled an association of their own. The new association named Football Journalists Association (FJA) aims at maintaining integrity and transparency in football journalism. The group want to cultivate a culture of highly professional journalism amongst its members since it is in their best interests to do so.
This decision has sparked conversions and diverse opinions in the the Malawian journalism fraternity. There are many people in support of the move. Some have labelled the new association as a group of disgruntled Journalists, while others see it as a good move. Football journalists have will have the freedom to join any association, or even have dual memberships.
Football Journalists Association
The FJA released its first statement saying a committee had been formed to spearhead the development of the association. The committee will be headed by Joy Ndovi, a football journalist from Nation Publication of Malawi. Mabvuto Kambuwe from Times Group will be the general secretary.
Deitrich Frederich from MIJ FM will act as the interim vice-chairperson, while Madalitso Phiri from Capital Radio will be the treasurer. Joe Mwase from Zodiak broadcasting and Robert Mbetewa will be the regional representatives of the Center and North regions respectively.
Other members of the association include; Garry Chirwa from Nation, Lifu Litete from MIJ, Williams Gondowa from Times Group, Richard Tiyesi, Paul Kamanga, Clement Chinoko from Nation, and Gospel Kanyama from Ufulu.
The statement released by the association, and signed by the general secretary Kambuwe, said that the move to form the association was necessitated by the need to promote high professional standards amongst football journalists. The statement said the association will be looking out for the interests of the said journalists as well.
According to the statement, Malawi has up to 200 sports journalists. Almost all of them have at one point reported on football matters. The association wants to pursue a development agenda for journalism that is specific to football.
The association has outlined a couple of objectives that it seeks to achieve. They are:
- Better cooperation with other football organizations to enhance communication services. This will ensure reports are factual, objective, speedy, accurate, and reliable
- Establishment of better working conditions and facilities for football journalists
- Promotion of social integration among the members
- Coordinating and cooperating with developmental organizations regionally, nationally, and internationally for the betterment of football in Malawi.
- Cooperating with football event organizers, so that football journalists are better facilitated to cover the events.
- Organizing and arranging training workshops for football journalists
- Dealing with accreditation matters on behalf of their members
- Championing for the welfare and rights of football players and all other stakeholders.
FJA is open for all football journalists in Malawi. Journalists will be required to pay a membership fee of K10000 every year. FJA will officially be launched on the 22nd December in Mangochi.
Journalists from different quarters in Malawi have expressed their opinions. FAM (Football Association of Malawi) Media Connect, a journalist’s forum in Malawi hosted a heated debate about these developments. Some journalists termed FJA as a disgruntled breakaway group.
Many have been apprehensive of the move though. There is an unspoken consensus that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the move. All its causes and objectives as outlined are noble. Some even feel that the new association will relive SWAM some of its responsibilities.
The possibility of a dual membership is also great. The founders of FJA have reiterated that they have nothing against SWAM. They just needed an association that caters specifically to football journalists.
They gave an example of the African Football Writers Association and the African Sports Writers groups. Both of these groups operate in the same space and have almost similar mandates. Journalists can have dual membership and each association is beneficial in its own way.
FJA could help SWAM by taking responsibility of conducting press conferences for FAM and all affiliates, as well as the regional football committees.
FJA’s help with accreditation of journalists for football events will also help weed out fake journalists. Apparently, pressers and football events attract many masquerade journalists in Malawi. Weeding them out will help preserve the integrity of the profession.
Kambuwe, the secretary general, said in an interview, they had realized there was a massive gap in football journalism. According to Kambuwe, there has been no focus on football journalism as a sector of its own. He felt that Malawian football journalists were not respected at football venues. He said that they were following in the footsteps of other countries that had already established their own football bodies.
The association has reiterated the need for specialized football journalists and improved facilities and working conditions. They said that improvements in these areas would immediately reflect on the quality of stories and reports produced.
Quality stories will certainly do a lot of good to followers and the journalists themselves. Journalists will be able to analyze matches and predict outcomes. Match predictions should not be a preserve of betting tips sites such as Sportwetten.net, and https://www.sportwetten.net/wettanbieter/bwin/.
FAM, through its communication director, has said that it will first have to have an official interaction with the new association so that they can map out how they will work together. The director said that FAM will continue to work with SWAM in matters of accreditation. He said that the body offers accreditation to the journalists who have fulfilled the requirements, regardless of which association they subscribe to.
FJA is certainly a good thing for Malawian football journalists. Not only will it be able to champion for better working conditions for the journalists, but also put them on a high and respected pedestal in Malawi football. Malawi is one of the prominent nations in Africa as far as football is concerned. Malawian football journalist deserves a respected space to ensure they can do their work properly.
Integrity in football journalism is very essential as well. It is easy for the journalist to be compromised if they are not empowered. FJA will provide a sense of belonging for the journalists and fuel passion for their work.