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Wednesday, 11 October 2017 15:32

Egyptian Ambassador El Adawy pats Malawi News Agency on the back

Written by  Sylvester Kumwenda
Ambassador Maher El-Adawy  appreciates a copy of Boma Lathu Publication after visiting the Publication Section - Pic by Stanley Makuti Ambassador Maher El-Adawy appreciates a copy of Boma Lathu Publication after visiting the Publication Section - Pic by Stanley Makuti

Lilongwe, October 11, 2017: Egyptian Ambassador to Malawi, Maher Al Adawy says the Malawi News Agency (Mana) is defying all odds by playing a vital role in reflecting real issues affecting people on the ground and in being a reliable source of information to the global community and international media houses.

He made the remarks after touring the Mana Headquarters offices, Mana newsroom and the e-media section in Lilongwe with the aim of appreciating the day to day operations of the agency which is under the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

El Adawy observed that despite the agency facing a lot of challenges it has not hindered the institution in being a bridge between government, its people and the global community.

“The aim of this visit was to interact with the staff working here and renew Egypt’s commitment in being a partner to Mana. But most importantly, to be appraised with first hand information on the challenges this section is facing.

According to him, reporters, photographers, editors and technicians in the section are facing challenges like that of equipment in terms of computers and field gadgets.

“Despite all these challenges, I have seen that people here are working very hard which is very impressive. We promise to continue helping in any way we can,” he said.

Ambassador Maher El-Adawy poses for a group photo with Mana officials - Pic by Stanley Makuti

During the e-media section, head of e-media Chikondi Chimala told the ambassador that the section is responsible for running eight government and Mana on-line and social media accounts.

These include two facebook pages, two twitter handlers, an Instagram account and three websites - www.manaonline.gov.mw, www.malawi.gov.mw and www.ict.gov.mw

He however said the section has a shortfall in equipment and challenges with its current content management systems.

“Some of our websites are currently static and completely out-dated and need urgent redevelopment.

“But one pressing issue is that some of our content management systems and related software need upgrading to make them user friendly as they were last upgraded five years ago. This is essential to fully align the section with the MoICT vision,” he said.

Ambassador El Adawy noted that desspite the challenges; the section is also performing very well.
“The section is producing very nice products like facebook pages, twitter handler that are being utilized by the citizenry, the diplomatic community residing in Malawi, foreign news agencies and media houses like the BBC. But there is need to update the technologies in this area because it is very important to keep up to date,” said he.

The ambassador said his government remains committed in further helping the department to become a vibrant, reliable and effective source of information for the general public by also continuing sending Mana staff to Egypt to learn from their counterparts.

“I intend to continue with this initiative because it is one of the important things in equipping the staff with essential skills needed in course of performing their work.

“On the same; I am impressed with the performance of the members of staff who previously benefited in these trainings as they are contributing a lot to this department,” said the ambassador.

In his remarks, deputy managing editor for Mana George Pemba said the visit reflects how the ambassador recognizes the good work his agency is doing and his interest in the welfare of the agency.

“He has been impressed with the work we are doing of disseminating information and putting across to the general public important developmental issues government is doing in all sectors.

Pemba said Mana has benefited a lot from the government of Egypt through El Adawy in the past three years of his stay and hopes the relationship would continue.

“Egypt has been helping us in various aspects like training our journalists and technicians. He is however also willing to further assist us in other sectors like providing us with equipment which we lack. We believe this will materialize,” said Pemba.

Currently almost all media houses in the country subscribe to Mana products; which include hard news stories, soft news stories, features and photographs.