Macra censure Galaxy Radio for presenting inaccurate news

Galaxy FM, which belongs to the family of former president Bingu wa Mutharika and ‘far from adhering to the Code of Conduct for Broadcasting Services’, has been condemned for it’s conduct likely to prejudice public order and tranquillity.

This follows a broadcast on 27 May claiming that the Lilongwe Police had seized a Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) vehicle carrying ballot boxes.

The station alleged that the ballot boxes contained already marked ballot papers and that the ballot boxes had been loaded from State House.

Macra boss Charkes Nsaliwa:  Galaxy is sensational and may incite trouble

Macra boss Charkes Nsaliwa: Galaxy is sensational and may incite trouble

The broadcast called members of the general public to go to Lilongwe Police in Area 3 to see for themselves the vehicle loaded with the ballot boxes.

It also alleged that there were more vehicles carrying ballot boxes loaded from the State House.

But the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has established that the vehicle in question ferried ballot boxes from two polling centres-Takomana and Chingombe primary schools- to Mec offices in Lilongwe.

The Authority says the ballot papers were not loaded from the State House as claimed by the Galaxy Radio.

“A van was used to ferry the ballot boxes and that is van was, for security reasons,” said Macra Director General Charles Msaliwa.

As such, Galaxy Radio presented inaccurate news on the origin of the ballot boxes in the Mec vehicle and it had no official statement from the police on the issue.

“Galaxy Radio was called to a meeting with Macra where it indicated that it made the broadcast on the origin of the ballot papers basing on what reporters of the radio heard the driver of the van say to members of the general public who were directly quizzing him.

“Galaxy Radio did not interview the driver directly. Galaxy further indicated that sources had tipped the radio about the origin of the ballot papers in the van,” explained Msaliwa.

He therefore said the conduct of Galaxy Radio urging the general public to go to Lilongwe Police amounted to conduct likely to prejudice public order and tranquillity considering the current fragile environment in the country with the results of the 2014 tripartite polls yet to be announced.

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