Malawi CSOs censure Mutharika over media gagging

Two leading human rights watchdogs Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) have cautioned President Peter Mutharika against taking the path of his predecessors who in one way or the other attempted to cripple the operations of the media especially those which were deemed to be critical of the government of the day.

After taking a jibe at Nyasa Times recently from Waldof Astoria Hotel in New York where he was attending the 68th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, President Mutharika took another jibe at the online publication, claiming it peddles malicious falsehoods about him, citing the recent report where the publication reported about his alleged extravagance whilst in New York.

But in a statement, the two rights groups observed with dismay the growing anger against and “intolerance” to media criticism that has of late become of President Mutharika’s regime, and appealed to the Head of State to respect and protect media freedom in the country to avoid repeating the mistakes of his predecessors.

Gift Trapence :A President must learn to absorb cruel and well-meaning criticism from the media

Gift Trapence :A President must learn to absorb cruel and well-meaning criticism from the media

Mtambo: Do not gag the media

Mtambo: Do not gag the media

“While respecting the President’s freedom of expression, we at CHRR and Cedep have of late observed President’s Mutharika’s growing anger against and some level of “intolerance” to media criticisms a situation if not corrected at this infant stage may have grave repercussions in the long run in as far as his government’s track record on the respect and protection of media freedom is concerned.

“His government’s recent singling out of Nation Publications Limited editor and columnist George Kasakula and now Nyasa Times online publications as being hell-bent at thwarting his political and development agenda is regrettable, and has the potential of instilling fear in the media community and hence impinging on their media freedom. We therefore urge the President to desist from any steps that would tarnish his government’s image and stifle free exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms including the media freedom,” reads part of the statement signed by Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence, executive directors of CHRR and Cedep.

The rights groups also took a swipe to attack all the regimes that had graced the country political history since 1994 as being “intolerant” to media criticism.

“CHRR and Cedep observe with dismay the perennial disease that is our governments of perceiving the private media especially those which are deemed critical of the prevailing government as opposition agents or mercenaries. Apart from the recent Nyasa Times and Nation Publications Limited George Kasakula experience, memories are afresh of how Raphael Tenthani, Mavuto Banda, Malawi Voice’s Justice Mponda, Zodiak,and NPL landed themselves in trouble with the previous regimes just for exposing the truth as guided by their media calling.

“Informed by such a background, we at CHRR and Cedep realize that governments are always ready, if not properly checked, to use their machinery just to suppress any dissent views, and as such precautions should be taken to address any symptom pointing to that undesirable direction as should be the case in the current APM-Nyasa Times saga”.

CHRR and Cedep also faulted Mutharika, and the previous regimes, of always blaming the media in the country of being unpatriotic whenever they publish stories that exposes the gaffes of the government of the day.

“Patriotism should never be equated to speaking or writing ‘feel good’ news about the prevailing governments when the reality on the ground is different – a reality characterized by growing nepotism, abuse of power and public resources, non-respect of human rights and good governance. A patriotic media house is that which calls a spade by its name – a media house that for instance exposes the prevailing nepotism, cashgate, human rights abuses and other prevailing hidden truths – so that the public is well informed towards a lasting solution. It’s pathetic that all of our governments since 1994 have often used this fallacious argument just to manipulate the public to rise against the unpatriotic media.”

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54 thoughts on “Malawi CSOs censure Mutharika over media gagging”

  1. Duck says:

    Bad signs yachan munthu asalankhule zomwe anaona kuti zalakwika he has freedom to do that

    1. Madala says:

      Mutharika should just say ‘ some media publications are doing XYZ’. He is not supposed to mention names of publications and individuals from the high platform he holds because that causes fear in journalists. They stop reporting their true opinions and become handclappers because they are wary of being named and shamed, except for the really fearless ones . APM is playing a dirty game and CSOs are right to check him. Somebody needs to otherwise things could get out of hand. The man has the makings of an autocrat, he seems unable to tolerate negative criticsm and that is not good in a president.

  2. Herbs says:

    I can’t agree with you CSOs

    Youre trying to confuse Malawians too bad

  3. Aichetu says:

    Hahahaha so CHRR and CEDEP would like to make people think that APM can be a dictator?

    That is wrong what he said at that conference does not in any way qualify that he would be a dictator and suppressor of media freedom

  4. Chaka says:

    CSOs mabodza bas

  5. Hand says:

    Nthawizonse kumpezera chifukwa munthu

    Aaaaaaa

  6. SIBO says:

    anyone who regards himself an enemy to the media is an enemy to the truth.

  7. MAKANANI says:

    WALORENI ATUMBUKA AZIPITA AKAWONE ZINA ! KODI MUKUWOPA CHANI A FARAO INU ?? ZOONA ANTHU 50 YEARS NO AIRPORT NO STADIUM QUOTA MKATI ??

  8. Central says:

    Go! go! go! go! go! go! Nyasa Times!! Ndimayesa ananena yekha kuti he was putting up in a room that was costing $2,000!! Tsopano inu mwalakwa chani?? Osatanganidwa naye ameneyo, truth pains and no wonder they are panicking!! Amayesa nobody was following on behalf of the populous!! Ubveeeeee basi with tax payers money mtchona ameneyu!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ngati zikuwathupsya let APM and DPP akakolope Lake Malawi!!!!!!!

    1. Mbolo Yotota says:

      ukukakokope ndiwe anthu akaduka ndi nsanje munya muona,kumaikira kumbuyo za mabodza munaluza basi mudikire 2034.munya muona.

  9. Cliff K Gama says:

    Malawi without the media can not sustain.

  10. Francis Luwani says:

    The media should learn to take criticism and not being defensive all the time. Mutharika was right to expresss his concern and the media should not make us believe that they are right all the time. let us be fair with each other.

  11. Victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi says:

    No need to worry about the media Mr President if you practice national justice, equality and preserve law, integrity and resources.

  12. UKBASE says:

    Koma ma Africans tidakali kumbuyo. Nkhani zimene timalimbana ndi zazii. Instead of looking on the matters which affects our life, we r busy talking on irrelevant issues. Just for example, I think we should be concern with issues like scarce of natural resources, e.g water, which is affecting our cities but instead we r busy talking nonsense issues. Wake up guys let’s put our effort on things which can benefit Malawi as whole. Inunso a Media too much commercialised – writing stories just to make money.

  13. marvel chikondi says:

    If we are accusing the president for saying the media did not say the truth when they reported that he was staying in a very expensive hotel, are we helping the media and ourselves? we are entitled to true information and not lies so i do not see where Mr. Trapence is faulting the president for gagging the media.

  14. Overseer says:

    Point of correction: these are not leading CSOs in the country but rather gay organisations that hate DPP for its stance against gayism thats why these organisations attack the president from left to right but they like their supporter joice banda. Dont take them seriously for we have reputable organisations with moral values worth listening to not these mathanyula organisations

  15. levison says:

    While the watchdogs are their to see the media freedom, it should also be noted that it has the responsibility to see that the media freedom should not be misused or abused. By the way the president did not show any proof when he refuted the claim that he was lodging in a hotel room worth $17000.00/night. what about Nyasatimes, did it prove to the nation that what the president said in not true? have they showed us any receipts to prove the claim?

    They say “while we have the right to write or say anything, we should also know that we have the responsibility to see that other peoples freedom /rights are not being violated when we exercising the so called freedom of expression.

  16. Nabanda says:

    Nanu amedia mumaonjeza, the way u criticize someone as if u urself are angels who don’t error, learn to criticize a person in a manner that he/ she will not feel offended. Mukazatero muzaona kuti sipazakhala Vuto.

  17. Ellias makandanje says:

    The President is human just like anyone else, and if the media is busy spreading lies about him, is he not at liberty to cry foul. In the first place, does the media have proof of the alleged extravagance ?Don’t spread falsehood just because of freedoms. He was right to refute it if he new you were lying.

  18. Mbuyanga says:

    Of late, the media has become gods that cant be criticized for biased and unsubstantiated reporting! Many a time, publications like Nyasa Times spew lies simply because they are not accountable to anyone! This has to stop! We want truthful reporting osati some regionalistic biased reporting!

  19. maganizo wa maganizo says:

    Malawi CSO, are you serious that peter,because he is a president should not comment on anything said against him by media.are you sure that the president does not have human rights,or freedom of expression.Are you sure that if you were in his shoes you were not going to comment anything said by media against you.Mr so called Mtambo,are you sure if media says you sleep with somebody’s wife you will just remain quite without defending yourself.I think some CSos are not serious in their job.It is better we have no CSOs,rather than having a bunch of crooks like mr Mtambo.If you are doing this out of jealousy,then it is very regretable.

  20. Mugonapamuhanya says:

    I listened to the President, he said that the media can attack him as a person and he is not bothered at all. But he continued that they should exercise wisdom in doing that because the moment they think they are hurting Mutharika by publishing false stories they will in fact be hurting the country and the citizenry at large. I don’t know what was wrong with that truthful statement like that one. The media and some CSOs in Africa are a shame. They lack patriotism and dent the image of the continent in the process.

  21. Alungwana says:

    Good idea! I think we should start now ensuring that these dpp are not stumbling the birthright for all.

  22. Sam says:

    Hahahahaha fear of unknown

    The story here is failing to convince me on what was wrong that may lead to the next dictatorial president

    Hope he was clarifying what was wrongly reported by such media houses

    CSOs be critical enough we salute you for your contribution but be radical and imperative

  23. chekambewa says:

    Much as i appreciate that there is freedom of expression it is also imperative just to fabricates force stores and you expect the accused will remain quient for the sack of promoting media freedom. you mtambo and you colligue you need also to balance up issue when you are criticising the question is is it true that the room which the president sleept was of that vavle as it was published ? The answer is no then why should you expect the accused to remain quient when his rights have been infringed. You Tumbukas your useless creatures more thatn fease.supit

  24. Rhodes Chambo says:

    No way the remarks made by APM can be looked at as signs of dictatorship

    He was telling Malawians the truth and by mentioning Nyasa and Nation newspaper he was referring to the originator’s of wrong information pertaining to his trip to USA

    Be critical when making statements our CSOs please

    What the president said is totally different from what other presidents have been saying pertaining to critical media

  25. Lindiwe Thawe says:

    Hahaha koma ma CSO athunso inu, kukhotetsa zinthu basi

    Munthu asalongosole zoona zenizeni zakomwe amagona paulendowake waku USA?

    Mesa a Nyasa ndi Nation mumkanena kuti President ankagona Ku hotel yodula.zomwe zinali zabodza?

    Penapake tidzitha kusiyanitsa pakati poophyeza atolankhani ndi kukonza zolakwika

  26. King Luke says:

    CEDEP.AND CHRR

    Kumaona chatsitsa dzaye kuti njobvu ithyoke nyanga

    Peter sakulankhula pofuna kulankhula moophyeza

    Amalongosola zomwe ndi zoona zokhudza ulendo wake waku USA

    Kodi pakalakwika sipamafunika ku unikirana?

  27. Litle Maduka says:

    Mmmmmmmm kudandaula zinthu zopandapake ndithu!

  28. Bandasiime says:

    No. 1 got it wrong himself. If the media get it wrong is the very reason why the Executive should come in the open and tell the truth so that the public get the truth from their servant, yes servant for they are the ones that employ the Executive for a given period and they need not choose for the bwanas what they want to hear. They were not employed to do that at all!!!!

  29. Mavivi zela says:

    Don’t justify false stories here

  30. Moving copse says:

    I think the president should use his spokesperson not himself commenting on media. Dont argue with media Mr President. You are wasting your time and reputation. Akuyalutsani ngati muziyankhira nokha

  31. PHWALA KU NYINI says:

    Don’t worry with the Mutharikas. They are naturally weak to handle political pressures. Not long from now ma demonstrations akayamba just know kuti state funeral is around the corner.

    Awa Tu ayenda dongosolo lomwe lija anayenda malemu che Daniel Phiri. Coz of Tsankho and poor public relations.

  32. Paul J.C.Mwafulirwa. says:

    Leaders in Africa suffer from a similar cronic disease which seems to have no cure. They all come to power promising their citizens some kind of liberation. However when they assume that power,they start developing extra wngs and start oppressing their own citizens in one form or another. The media house that steps on their toes wears an enemy tag while those who dance to their brain washing tactics are pat at the back. It is high time leaders take time to analyse views that seem to be critical as they represent the cries of the oppressed. The praise singers rarely have the interest of the majority of the citizens at heart as gaining favours from the leader takes centre stage.

  33. kila says:

    ana osasamba otchedwa atolankhani… who do u think ur? a piece of shit….u write nosense jux to find somethn to write on that day…shame

  34. Nobel says:

    The president must be ready for such attacks and he should at no way run away from such attacks. He’s our employee, should learn to be more accountable to his employers. He’s growing feathers will make him fly away from us so we’ll try to pluck off these growing feathers if he’s to continue the former Bingu way.

  35. Chonde Mulanje says:

    Criticize while you have information. Don’t criticize maliciously, even when you know that you are just spreading rumours

  36. Nyasatimes please continue informing us where things have gone wrong,we apreciate the good job ur doing.

  37. Nyamakumutu says:

    You just want to be noticed that you are doing something for your pay Masters to continue supporting you. We know that in a minority government like the one we have the civil society are not necessary but the opposition. You will make noise for nothing in the next five years for your own survival.

  38. ka says:

    i thought u expect feedback;shld they just stay quiet when there reaady answer?any freedom has its responsibility!sober up guys!

  39. John says:

    It does not MATTER if the media gets it wrong and “spew of falsehoods”. That is why he has a billion advisers and press officers, ministry of informations, press secretaries,,,,bla bla bla( i would think they were there to fight his battles against the media and correct where ” the media is spewing falsehoods”. Whats rhe use of having those ministries and departments but still fight the media himself? Appeasement apointments!!! Thats the problem, no one in those positions have a clue what to do because they are not qualified for it!

  40. Harrison says:

    32 out of 100 voted for him. He knows it and he has to live with it. Be tolerant to wise criticism and concentrate on winning our hearts by doing what the constitution mandates you to do just like what your late brother did (May His Soul Rest in Peace) in his first term of office.
    Osayamba ndikuononga mwalawilira.

  41. Sidix says:

    You APM, you will die faster just like ur brother due to anger and hatred. The Bible says that an old person,over 70yrs does not receive advice from other people. Muthalika is 70yrs+13. Do u think can receive advice from his 20 advisors?
    You selfish people youths of Nkhata Bay, share us audio clip of Vuwa. We understand he said”Inu mufuna kupanga kademo, marching against selection ya F1 pa NKHABOSS, mukulimbana ndi boma, musowa ngati Chasowa………………………!”
    Tikukafuna pano pa Central ka audio clip ko!

  42. blessingsmakono says:

    thats total rubbish .atola nkhani mumapototsa dala nkhani kuti president akalankhula muziti akudana nanu

  43. Magogo Nkhalamba says:

    DPP is Suspicious Chancy Government thus why the State President is always at boiling point with the Media…

    High Blood Pressure tendencies on the media is unacceptable because as citizens of Malawi we are titled to hear and read stories which are balanced with truth…These Stories and news are programmed without hate speech against the State President and his government!

    Truth pains thus why the State President is always throwing his pen to the media,the state President and his government are not living to the nature of their office of Good Governance,this government is always having secret agendas of enriching themselves than serving the Malawi Nation…

    President who always hate criticisms is more than ignorant and naïve to the society he is governing!

    Hating the Media is the tendency of a president who is a ruler(dictator)than a leader…A leader always leads the people with clear conscience and good example!

  44. The Patriot says:

    Thumbs up Nyasatimes! That is what media should be, a watch dog! Nyasatime yodziwika ndi Boma! They know they cannot hide anything and they are worried!That is the only way Politicians learn to be careful; fear of being exposed!

  45. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    Inu a CHRR ndi CEDEP: don’t be naïve.
    Some newsmen/women have personal and hidden agendas; and they misuse the media as an a front of attack. Tenthani and Kasakula are probably the worst offenders. They need to be censured by their professional organizations, to be sure. They throw mud at specific politicians willy-nilly; like shooting a shotgun in the dark, just hoping to hit something! Meanwhile, it’s obvious the mud they are throwing was just passed onto them by some political party, or operative, with a grudge.
    These people abuse the democratic right. Often they show no responsibility for balanced research. They are indeed lucky not to be working in the most dangerous environment of their hero, Kamuzu Banda. That era was more than toxic. It was actually deadly! And the evidence is all over the place!
    Yes, especially Tenthani and Kasakula need to be called out! They are NOT paragons of balanced journalism. Bad examples for young journalists to emulate!

  46. Inu says:

    Is CHRR still around? This time guys you have no sympathy from the general public, maybe in the Nyika republic. You guys were quiet the last two years and we were even wondering whether this organization still exists. Now that you are out of government you have started talking? FORGET IT. WE ARE JUST NOT LISTENING.

  47. sudzo says:

    If I were Peter, I would not get worried with these tumbuka organizations because as long as he is still president, they will always attack him. DON’T MIND THEM.

  48. MKWAPU says:

    I THOUGHT HE TOLD U HE WOULD CONTINUE FROM WHERE HIS BROTHER LEFT?

  49. Tapiwa Elias says:

    As someone who has stayed in the States he should be the last person to attack the media.He knows what Fox News does to Obama and yet he does not attack it.Also dispute the accusations with facts…………show the world receipts of how much u paid at the hotel u were staying then the world will make its judgement.Thats how it works my President.

  50. Kutogolela Sankiyo says:

    I thought a President should have thick skin to critism and other comments.There should be a well designed system to rebut various accusations inorder to inform the public about the truth. That is what leadearship is all about. Are people expected or forced to be quite even if they suspect something has gone wrong within the Executive. Dictatorships start this way. Nyasa Times and any other private media should continue your watchdog role.

    1. Alfred Minjo says:

      Hey guys, I do not see anything wrong in reporting what the government is doing by the media fraternity provided what they report is a true reflection of what is happening and not by creating false stories. The president is a human being too, he gets reacts, gets angry with frustrations more especially when you are reporting issues with no facts or evidence. Leadership is not tolerating nonsense. If you suspect something gone wrong please investigate and do your homework right to report facts and not hearsays/rumours. If indeed what Sankiyo is saying that dictactorship starts this way is true, then we ourselves and the media fraternity we are to blame and not leadership. Let us learn to respect those in authority and I agree the media to continue the watchdog’s role while informing the public the true stories and not speculations.

  51. Hehede says:

    Don’t just defend for the sake of it. Many times media get it wrong.

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