Galaxy FM Radio reporters have not been paid their meagre per-story wages in the last six months without any convincing explanations, accusing their employer of being “insensitive.”
Nyasa Times understands that the reporters, most of them stringers in almost all the districts in the country, were only rigorously used prior to the May 2014 tripartite polls to mouthpiece for the now ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Nyasa Times further understands that the broadcasting house is wholly owned by the DPP hierarchy to “score” political points. The party also owns online news site Malawi Voice.
“We were used for the elections and then dumped,” one of the reporters who spoke on condition of anonymity told Nyasa Times. “Even then, the allowances were far from inspiring.”
The reporter, in one of the cities in the country, said it was “difficult to survive.”
He said the last time they had been paid was last December and then too it was a “hustle” to get what they were owed to.
“The K500 they pay per story is already too little, and yet they will take months to pay,” he said.
According to Nyasa Times sources, management claims to be facing “dire economic constraints.”
But the reporter parried away the claim arguing management “wouldn’t be recruiting new staff” if it was economically struggling.
“They recruiting new journalists instead of managing the few of us available,” he said.
To survive the reporter said he manages allowances from “function coverage” and workshops or trainings by non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders.
But Galaxy FM station manager Alfred Banda at the headquarters in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe said it “was not true” that the reporters hadn’t been paid in half a year.
“I’m told that used to happen, but we settled all the arrears,” said Banda. “We don’t owe anyone.”
Banda said he assumed his post in 2012.
“It is not true,” he insisted.
Journalists in Malawi are some of the underpaid with most getting forced to delve into soliciting bribes from sources to publish or not publish certain stories. The trend, in most cases, has resulted in lack of an independent media in body in the country otherwise supposed to be championing the “watchdog” role for the government.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) – Malawi President Thom Khanje had promised to fight for “better pay” for journalists in his manifesto prior to the elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :