Citizen sends a message reporting on upcoming elections.

Citizen sends a message reporting on upcoming elections.

MALAWI Election Information Center (MEIC) is now getting ready to launch the Citizen Journalism as a way of offering all Malawians the opportunity to voice out their views on all that concerns the elections. The idea is that they will go as far as reporting on any events they deem important on ensuring a free, fair and credible elections come May 20th, 2014.

MEIC introduced the mobile and web verification to the nation as a way of making it convenient for all those registered voters who never managed to get to the polling station on time to register. Mobile verification was simple in the sense that people just sent their ID numbers to 5VOTE (58683) and they got feedback on whether they were verified or not. This system will finally end on Thursday, 15th May, 2014.

Citizen Journalism will also entail the same method of texting. The citizen will just send a text to the same short code 5VOTE (58683). Here the citizens will get a chance to report in on the elections. They get a chance to tell us and everybody else about what is happening at the polling station they are.

One of the objectives behind citizen journalism was to give the citizens a role to play on elections day. Yes they get to vote, but with citizen journalism they get to contribute to the outcome of certain events happening all over. And these messages they send will be posted and monitored on our website which is up and running. So when people visit the site they get to observe and see how other polling stations are doing and how to fully appreciate citizen journalism.

MEIC will launch a campaign regarding this innovative idea of citizen journalism. We hope this campaign will reach to the masses so that we will be getting those texts from citizens. On our campaign schedule, we plan on having road shows to reach out to all areas not just urban but rural as well. Radio programs will be on the campaign list as well as newspaper adverts.

MEIC will allow all citizens to take part in deciding the future of Malawi. 58683 will allow you to shape your future and destiny. So we urge all citizens out there to share their experience by using their mobile and send a FREE SMS to 58683.

Reporting by: Christine Malata

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