Strained relations with Germany

Germany bars Malawi journalists
By Nyasa Times
Published: June 1, 2011
Germany minister cancels Malawi visit over governance concerns</em>

Got this very upsetting article in my mail this morning. It looks like a very shortsighted view from a great and powerful nation.
Encouraging and empowering journalists lood like such a positive move by the Germans, but, to me, this is not a positive move.
Theres always hope though.
Malawians have started to feel the pinch of the strained relations between the DPP led government and its international partners after the International Institute for Journalism (IIJ) of Germany – has barred Malawian journalists from applying for one its course saying the southern African country is not a German partner.

The development comes barely a few months after the German government suspended aid to the impoverished Malawi as sanctions against President Bingu wa Mutharika’s dictatorial rule.

The donors are concerned with violation of freedom of the press and expression, lack of accountability and human rights abuses.

Nyasa Times impeccable sources say the German Embassy will close its mission in Malawi in the next 12 months. And yet the application form is supposed to be submitted to the German embassy in the respective home country.

“Sorry for the mistake…unfortunately. Apologies! Unfortunately, we have to tell you that your home country does not belong to the list of countries a partner country in the frame of German Development Cooperation,” reads an email response from Sabine Emmerich IIJ Project Manager based in Bonn, Germany made available to Nyasa Times.

The International Institute for Journalism (IIJ) early this month announced a training course “Reporting Politics: Good Governance, Investigating Policies, Covering Elections” to be held in Berlin from October 20 to November 29, 2011.
In the advertisement, Malawian journalists were among those from several countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe that are eligible.

But in the latest advert Malawi has been struck off the list.

Emmerich said the IIJ has to focus its training activities on a limited number of partner countries in Africa and Asia because its capacity does not allow to cover the necessities of a great number of countries.

“I am therefore very sorry to say that we cannot encourage you to apply. I regret that by mistake you received the announcement of this course although your country does not belong to the targeted countries. I am sorry not being able to give you better news and wish you all the best for your professional plans,” said Emmerich to one of Malawian journalist applicant.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter expressed ignorance on the matter.—(Reporting by Andrew Nyayah, Nyasa Times)


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