Starving the messenger: A study of journalists’ conditions of service in Malawi
This study used in-depth interviews to investigate the conditions of service and welfare of journalists in Malawi. It found that while the Media Council of Malawi code of professional ethics and standards and in-house policies expected the best out the journalists, the majority of the journalists, mostly junior reporters, were grossly underpaid; far below the monthly living wage. It also found that dejection, fatalism, and individualism pervade journalists so much so that some of them seemed resigned to their status quo. Media owners seemed unwilling to engage in any debate about their journalist employees’ welfare. The study concludes that under such circumstances, many Malawian journalists were likely to be tempted to take bribes and engage in other forms of corruption as coping mechanisms.
Key words: Afriethics, umunthu, ubuntu, journalism, welfare, living wage