By Duncan Mlanjira
Newly-formed Football Journalists Association (FJA) that aims at promoting and maintaining a high professional standard among journalists who specialise in football, have shifted its official launch from December 22 to December 29 and the venue still remains in Mangochi.
Interim president Joy Ndovi of Nations Publications says following concerns from various stakeholders including his executive committee members trustees, the launch has been shifted because it coincides with three events; the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) summit, the FAM AGM and Fisd Challenge Cup final.
“Most of us here will have to attend at least one or two of these events,” Ndovi said. “While appreciating the importance of these events, we would like to offer an opportunity to all of us to attend the FJA launch at a date that we will all be available.
“December 29 is the perfect date considering that the season will be over and the launch of FJA will be purely be our show without clashing with other events. The venue remains Mangochi and FJA wishes to thank you all for your dedication to become part of this historic event.”
And Ndovi added that as a matter of house keeping, FJA members who are on Sports Association of Malawi (SWAM) WhatsApp group should refrain from commenting on any subject relating to FJA even when provoked.
At the outset, news of the formation of FJA was received with mixed reaction from some journalists on the WhatsApp forum, FAM Media Connect on which some described FJA as a disgruntled breakaway group.
But others described the development as positive saying it will relieve SWAM of some responsibility and they don’t see any problem of having a beneficial dual membership.
One journalist applauded this initiative, saying FJA should take responsibility of handling press conferences for FAM and all its affiliates such as SULOM and regional football committees.
He observed that a presser by FAM at Mpira Village in Chiwembe attracts a huge gathering of journalists but some of them are not really football writers.
Another observed that if there is an industry that is very easy to join then it is the media, saying at many functions, not just for football but others by the corporate world, there are many people who masquerade as journalists and there is need to rein in this in order to preserve the integrity of the profession.
In reaction, FAM’s Competitions and Communication Director Gomezgani Zakazaka had said they will first wait for an official interaction with FAJ to enable them appreciate their objectives and map how they will work together.
“FAM will continue to work with SWAM and will continue to facilitate accreditation for their members. It should be noted that some journalists that are not members of SWAM were getting accreditations on their own.
“FJA members will also make separate applications and will be accredited if they fulfil applications procedures,” Zakazaka had said.
FJA interim committee has Ndovi as interim president, Deitrich Frederich of MIJ FM as deputy, Mabvuto Kambuwe from Times Group as the general secretary, Madalitso Phiri of Capital Radio as treasurer and Joe Mwase of Zodiak Broadcasting for the Centre and Robert Mbetewa for the North as regional representatives are.
Ordinary members are Richard Tiyesi, Garry Chirwa of the Nation, Lifu Litete of MIJ, Williams Gondwa of Times Group, Paul Kamanga, Clement Chinoko of the Nation and Gospel Kanyama of Ufulu.
Malawi has close to 200 sports journalists with almost all of them at one point having reported on football and it is against this background that the idea of forming FJA was hatched with the aim of promoting and maintaining a high professional standard among journalists who specialise in football and to serve their interests.
FJA’s objectives are:
• To co-operating with football bodies to encourage improved services in all forms of communications so that the reporting of football shall be objective, reliable, speedy and accurate
• To coordinate and collaborate with development oriented organisations nationally, regionally and internationally
• Co-operate with football organisers so as to ensure that journalists have the best facilities in the covering of events
• Promote social intercourse among its members.
• Strive for improved facilities and working conditions for football journalists
• Deal with matters concerning accreditation of FJA members at football events
• Organise training workshops for its members
• To champion the rights and welfare of football players
Membership for FJA is open to all who practice football journalism at a membership fee of K10, 000 per year.