Newly appointed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary General (SG) Francis Mphepo has attracted a wrath of criticism following his outbusts that Malawi newspapers should sell in hell for publishing stories that are discrediting President Peter Mutharika and his administration.
Mphepo made the remarks at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe when President Mutharika addressed a political rally to welcome in DPP mostly politicians who flirts with every ruling party.
But Mphepo’s comments have attracted criticism from Malawi’s flagship newspaper, The Daily Times, Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter and the media practitioners.
In its editorial comment, The Daily Times said the media has only committed a sin of reminding the President and his administration “about what they are not doing right”.
The paper said instead of preaching hate against the media, DPP government should be thankful to the the watchdog of the society for its role of reminding government what it is doing wrong.
“For instance , the media has been unrelenting in reminding this [DPP] government that people are suffering, that our education sector is upside down, that our health sector us left-side-right and our economy is cruising to damnation and for this wise counsel all government thinks of is hatred,” reads the editorial comment in part.
The paper commented that if DPP is desperate for praise singing, they there are party loyalists that are reserved for that.
“But we are the media and we believe we are the eye of society, and we will not stop pointing at the flaws,” the paper stated.
It went further to point out that many Malawians are also “disheartened” that tax-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corportation (MBC) Radio and Television are being used for propaganda and hate speech, reminding government that MBC’s mandate as national broadcaster is to mobilise Malawians towards national building through provision of factual and relevant information.
The newspaper said the DPP administration will be painted with “splendid metaphors” in the media the day government will get serious wuth the fight against corruption and starts providing its people with all basic necessitites.
Meanwhile, the Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter has fought back at DPP over Mphepo’s class remarks, saying the party should t concentrate on “governing rather than wasting fighting the media”.
Chairperson for Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter Thom Khanje is quoted in The Nation newspaper saying: “DPP to concentrate on governing rather than wasting fighting the media”.
And writing in his column in The Nation, journalist and blogger Golden Matonga observed that DPP is struggling for authenticity on almost every issue.
“ Not that the DPP has no blueprint for success, but because there is no longer the same level of application. Either corrupted by power or lacking in leadership, the party of ‘dreamers’ has only inherited what was bad about the old DPP—executive arrogance and nepotism,” he wrote.
Matonga pointed out that in 2019 elections, DPP strategists face an unenviable task of selling another manifesto and candidate that will promise change.
“Maybe Malawians, as legendary in docility and stoicism as they are, will be gullible to buy it. If Malawians rise and reject any scapegoats on why the DPP failed to deliver the reformist agenda pledged in 2014, the DPP will have no one to blame but the corruption that has blinded it,” he argued.
Recently, private media owners issued a Mount Soche Declaration (after the venue of their meeting) following the recent highly belligerent attitude the President and his DPP administration have unleashed on independent media apparently to choke it from telling the nation the truth.
In the declaration, the media owners say they will also move the courts to seek interpretation on the role of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) which behaves as a police, prosecutor, juror and judge in regulating and policing private electronic media.
“We will present a united front as a media and regard attacks on one as an attack on us all. We will reject divide and rule machinations by the State and we will only negotiate through our mother bodies, Media Council of Malawi and Namisa,” reads the Mount Soche Declaration in part.
The media representatives have come up with a Mount Soche Declaration included Times Group, Nation Publications Limited (NPL), Capital Radio Malawi Limited, Zodiak Broadcastion Services, MIJ FM Radio Station, Chanco Radio/TV Station, Beta TV, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter and Media Council of Malawi (MCM).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :