Malawi Broadcasting Corp. facing ‘serious’ challenges

It is called a public broadcaster but the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) appears to be failing in its objective of serving public interest.

Sunday evening the public broadcaster, in one main ingredient of the radio’s programming, had a complete blackout of Chichewa news bulletin on both Radios 1 and 2 FM.

There was no immediate comment from management but an inside source confided in Nyasa Times the reason was due to unavailability of personnel to work on the news.

“There were no people to write the Chichewa bulletins and read it due to logistical problems. There were no Chichewa editors in the newsroom and no evening news readers.

MBC broadcasing house in Blantyre

MBC broadcasing house in Blantyre

“The problem has been there for sometime and if you have noted we usually have problems with Chichewa bulletins particularly during weekends because we have shortfalls in staff.

“The blackout is just one of the many challenges the broadcaster is facing and management seems not to be doing anything to address the problems,” said the source adding that this is the first time as a thing is happening in her 10 years at the broadcasting house, commonly referred to as the BH.

The source wondered why management was allowing the news and programmes’ departments to continue suffering without doing anything and yet MBC’s core business is to broadcast.

“Our shifts are very abnormal. Imagine at Radio 1, a presenter has a shift of six hours. Surely, can a person remain active and productive on air for six hours?”

The source also revealed that news readers have lost interest in leaving their homes just to read news and get K500 per bulletin.

“We are working under very de-motivating conditions. Imagine a person lives in Machinjiri, he connects two minibuses just to go and read news and then is given a meagre K500 when transport alone is double that much? That is an insult?” she said.

Also last week, evening news on Radio 1 was delayed by seven minutes as producers hunted for someone to read the bulletin.

The source also said presenters at Radio 2 have had problems to play music because some technician in the IT department disabled the computer’s USB ports used for playing music.

“This means if you have your music for a show, you need to load it in the other studios on the network which is mostly down, making the process useless,” she said.

The source also revealed that MBC stopped buying foreign music for presenters long ago as such they have to struggle to source their own music most of which is in soft copy format.

Some programmes on Radio 2 have also reportedly failed to go on air because the corporation cannot afford to buy CDs.

Head of programmes Wellington Kuntaja could not provide an immediate comment.

A few weeks ago, MBC launched its own website (www.mbc.mw) but Nyasa Times has observed all the stories currently flying are obsolete and our investigations indicate the corporation launched it with no structures in place.

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