Malawi media bites back at President Mutharika

Malawi private media owners and managers fear the State House and President Peter Mutharika plan to silence the independent media once and for all but have vowed to fight on as public’s watchdog.

Things fall apart now: Mutharika posing with media managers (flashback)

Things fall apart now: Mutharika posing with media managers (flashback)

The media gurus met at Mount Soche Hotel on Monday  November 7, 2016 and deliberated on the worrying trend by the Mutharika regime with a view to limit the media space in the performance of its duty enlighten the public on how it is being governed.

The meeting was conducted following remarks Mutharika made in Mchinji during campaign for by-elections about Zodiak Broadcasting Station and Times Group, publishers of Malawi News, The Daily Times, Sunday Times and operators of Times Radio and Times TV.

The media houses and managers at the meeting included those from Zodiak, Capital Radio,  MIJ FM, Chanco Radio/TV Station, BETA TV, Nation Publications Limited and Times Group.

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chapter and  Media Council of Malawi also attended the meeting and endorsed a statement issued thereafter.

The media managers expressed concern with  what they called  “the highly belligerent attitude”  that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has taken against the independent media “to silence it from telling Malawians the truth.”

They accused President Mutharika for championing the media attacks  by  blaming the gossiping and speculation surrounding his health on the media when Mutharika himself took the blame that he did not have his Staff with him in the US after the United Nations General Assembly because he sent them home.

“As if the above was not enough the President threw all caution to the wind and called the media, Times Group and Zodiak Broadcasting Station – ZBS in particular, in Mchinji as disgusting and that they write nonsense and garbage,” the media houses statement noted.

The media have also threatened to boycott news conferences by the President, poining out that what happens at the State House is not a press conference but a “press rally.”

“All this happens despite the fact that the independent media through National Media Institute of Southern Africa – NAMISA and Media Council of Malawi – MCM have complained against such a practice but nothing has changed as exemplified by the harassment that journalists suffered during the last press conference the President addressed at State House on his trip from the US,” the statement said.

The media made declaration that they will not be attending news conferences at State House by the President  “in an atmosphere of intimidation”.

They also press for passing into law the Access to Information Bill.

“We therefore declare our rights to pursue all lawful means in our efforts to perform our roles as news media houses.  Such rights shall include:

  • Respecting and implementing guidelines and decisions of our watchdog organisations, the Media Council of Malawi, MCM and NAMISA
  • Recourse to the Courts of Law of the Republic of Malawi
  • Boycott of Press Conferences of the Head of State
  • Black-outs of all news of the Head of State and Cabinet Ministers
  • Move the courts to seek interpretation on the role of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority –MACRA which behaves as a Policeman, 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
  • We will ensure that we stick to professionalism and be above board in the execution of our duties.”

But the State House has declared the media “  cannot bully the Head of State with propaganda and false reports.”

President Mutharika’s director of communications, Bright Molande, told a weekly paper that: “ The trouble we have is that there are media houses that want to criticise everybody, but they don’t want to be criticised.”

Media Council  executive director Vales Machila had written State House offering to mediate between President Mutharika and the media but their intervention was dismissed.

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28 thoughts on “Malawi media bites back at President Mutharika”

  1. Thinktank says:

    If this administration is so arrogant it’s because it has some stupid citizens defending these mafias disguised as “leaders”..How can any sane person defend the attitude of this govt towards free press.

  2. Mseuwaboma says:

    Boycott of presidential press rally is long overdue. The agreement should have been that from now onwards private media organisations will not attend these “rallies”. Have a front page that covers other news. The problem has been, as DPP trolls below are suggesting, that media houses believe that they are going to lose sales if they do not cover these pressers. Why not try it out? Next time APM comes back from his beloved USA, don’t put him on the front page. Instead lead with a story about an elephant stomping on a poacher, for example. 64% of Malawians did not vote for APM, it is therefore misguided to think that we buy newspapers to read about APM. It is the adverts for jobs, tenders, services etc that sell newspapers.

    The treatment of Tereza Ndanga by APM and DPP was just plain wrong. Such kind of behaviour should not be tolerated. Before he became president APM was given fair coverage by the media; now that he is in office he expects the media to behave as his praise singers?

    I still remember the stance of the Malawi Democrat on presidential press conferences: They said they couldn’t attend one even if it was held in their reception area! Media houses do not even have to have an agreement – each house should decide on its own whether to send its reporters to a place where it is known in advance that they will be humiliated or instead to send them to a place where they will be treated with the dignity they deserve. APM and DPP do not OWN this country, they are holding power for now, others will come after them…

  3. gototo says:

    George Kasakula and Brian Banda are too personal on the issue of president.Media is responsible for criticizing and mus accept criticism as well. Dont be selfish.

  4. Siphokazi says:

    @eduardo I hope you are writing from American…which certain good things are happening in this fucked up country?…kadziko kosayaka magetsi kopanda madzi…..iwe usandilakwitse

  5. gototo says:

    This is foolish media ever lived in Malawi. Listen to George Kasakula and Brian Banda talking rubbish on the 92.8 radio, you would that these headless chickens are MCP remaining mercenaries. Listen to radio programme aired out on Times by Brian Banda on Sunday, 7th November 2016 from half 12 to half 1 and again listen to another programme on the same radio held on Monday 8th November from 12 noon to 1pm. You would conclude that these so called journalists if they are, are typical MCP die hard. And they are also ignorant of voting behavior of Malawi. Yes they are typical of MCP because they were just using inhumane language in the name of Media, they were also taking part in the results of previous bye elections the way mapale fans become when BB beat neba nyerere. They are also ignorant of Malawi voting behavior because DPP is not a strong hold in central region. If DPP can 25 percent of total votes in central region that means DPP has won. Because DPP can manage 95 percent in south and 70 percent in north I mean in absence of PP. While MCP can get less 15 percent in south and 20 percent in north because of poor strategies by Chakwera. He fights for central yet that is his own meat, let him come here to south and north for his campaigns.

    Our media is also foolish because it wants to criticize others while others should not dare them. This is childish behavior where a child shouts at others laughing happily while when others shout at him he has no any other option but crying. This is what our median is doing. The president has right to clarify his affairs, after all his ministers had no correct information about him. Then media is weeping. Why do want to create a one sided battle. To me an enemy who responds to my shouts is better than the other who just looks at me when I am kumutukwa. Jack up our media. Talk to the president and let the president talk to you as well. Don’t take away the right of the president to defend himself. He is a human being. Surprisingly you are the same media who stand up and say the president is not answering on some public issues. Now he answering and you are not happy. Which is which? When he is not responding to public outcries its you the same media, tells us that the president is not answering. When he is answering the outcries again the same media come out to us and say see your president is not coming out with answers. WHICH IS WHICH? I repeat George Kasakula and Brian Banda are journo-politicians for MCP. These are using unmedia and INHUMANE languages. They are expressing themselves out of PURE ANGER and EMOTIONS.

  6. Maunits says:

    Can you please tell us which false and sensational news did Zodiak air out. Mthalika admitted that he was sick and got injection. Who paid for that stay in America and whose money is that very stupid this guy is going and can not stand up with a younger blood Chakwera come 2019. He will be the first president to govern Malawi for five years and let alone Mthalika to return back to US if he will have clean record failing which wakundende plus his cronies we need money back. Media please that is a good stand without media government is fallen.

    1. Mjomba says:

      A Maunits zanuwache izi osamatha mau mudzangogwanazo ndi BP. inu bambo wanu moti zonse ankakupangirani zabwino. dziwani kuti even a manager ako ngati uli pantchito ndi munthu mmodzi mwa anthu omwe agwetsa dziko, moti ngati iwenso unaphulira ndipo umayang1anira anzako upeze munthu wapadera akufufuzire ngati anthu onse pa officepo amakufunila zabwino komanso amakondwera ndi uchitsiru wakowo. ndiye yambani mwachotsa chitsotso chili mdiso lakolo mpamene utayambe kunyoza mzako.

  7. Banda says:

    The media must continue to be the true voice for the people,
    Attending news conferences does not mean it has to be reported

    It is the media’s job to report all ill government behavior from all parties and members of parliment to be the people’s watch dog whether critical or fair the people will decide.

    Do not let Parliament forget they work at the mercy of the citizens of Malawi. That government is to work for all the people rich or poor to ensure a better place to live and grow as a nation.

    Not just for a few politians who face critical reports from media for the loss of billions of kwacha and failing government programs and spending.

  8. Gogodasi says:

    You can never see any tangible results as long as Molande, a Poet heading the Communications Diretorate at the State House. The man was completely misplaced.

  9. be humane says:

    This is very interesting media. The moment you stop writing about DPP and its government the more you are not exposing their shortfalls and the more you make people not know the evils of this government and the more you are giving it chances to win the next elections. Try it and see the damage you will make

    1. Mfana odzisata says:

      Blackout does not mean they will stop writing about DPP and Govt. They will simply write without being invited to functions or seeking clarification. I support the move, esp on MACRA.

    2. ANALYST says:

      The media is not saying they will “stop writing about DPP and its government” – what they have said is “they might stop attending press conferences organised by State House and/or the President” if the present set up of such Press Conferences continues. Please, understand the meaning intended by the communicator, not what you have in your mind

      1. be humane says:

        So they will not attend but report? Mr. Analysts is that what you mean?
        then does it make sense. They have said and all cabinet ministers activities. I’m I right?

  10. Chemwali chimwene says:

    Give peter andhis govt ablack out, no coverageoftheir blahblah

    1. mgoloso says:

      Your so called “Black out” was needed yesterday. What impact will that black out bring to Malawians. We were tired of your non-sense reports – reports based on rumours. Shame on your lecturers or tutors who taught you how to spoil your profession. What kind of a reporter are you – happy with someone’s death including that of your own grand mother.

      I thank God for not being a Reporter – who always looks around for non-sense things to say about others when you have a lot of too stupid stories of themselves and their families. Malawian reporters have turned out to be “gossipers” in our localities. Its better to be a subsistence farmer than to be a Reporter – shame on you all.

    2. mgoloso says:

      “No coverage” is better than “Non-sense coverage”.

  11. Has something gone wrong in the head of Bright Molande? This guy was a good lecture at Domasi but today most people are doubting his credetials, paja money turns simple heads into puppets, he is being manipulated by these dpp evils to the extent of loosing normal human principles. Like Phillip Business poverty has striken their minds to the extent of not knowing what is good and what is bad! DPP IS A WALKING DEVIL WHO IS ONLY TO DESTROY YOUR VALUES, ABANDON THIS DEVIL WHOSE LEADER IS SATAN PLEASE!

  12. Zobwiaki says:

    Futseki! Were it not you at Zodiac who continued with the announcement of the results of a rigid election despite the calls from the the head of state to stop the elections of the same man who is about to start ???? (hammering) you now?!!!

    Simunati, muchimina!

    1. mmalawi says:

      iwe stupid

  13. Mapwevupwevu says:

    Molande is right, the media in Malawi is so big headed. They write false and sensational stories and they dont want to be criticised. The problem we have is that these journalists took to writing after failing to pursue their preferred professions due to limited brains!

    1. mgoloso says:

      Olemba nkhani ku Malawi alibe nzeru – they are frustrated people and that is why they always would like to talk bad about all “Achievers”. Amaganiza kuti vuto lawo lopanda nzerulo ndi munthu wina yemwe anawachititsa kuti akhale otero.

      Secondly, they are “money hungry”. That is why they look up to politicians to give them something for their daily bread.

      Chitsiru ndi munthu yemwe anakwatira/anakwatiwa ndi mtola nkhani. What a choice of a lover?

    2. mgoloso says:

      Mwasandutsa utola nkhani kukhala bwalo la andale kutukwaniranapo – better to be wakabanza than a reporter

  14. be humane says:

    poor strategy by the media if you shun activities by government and its cabinet news muzizitenga kuti poti nkhani zanu zimangokhalira DPP, Mutharika, Minister so and so, the government of Malawi…. khalani tikuonerani ndipo musamapite kumisonkhano on consultations akupanga ya Access to information Bill ija muone amene adzalire pamapeto. Silly strategy by the media. We don’t support you for giving Malawi trush and garbage the president was right. Look at How Nyasa presents stories, Zodiak Matenda a president kumanenerera ngati mpira and you call that professionalism? Bravo peter khalani musadzapiteko ku press briefing timuona amene alire. Muyambe mawa not covering nkhani za boma and see ngati malonda anu aziyenda. Zodiak without government business mulimba? Way your benefits before boycotting

    1. Matapwata says:

      The media houses think that by writing lies about the President, people will buy their papers. How on earth can a media house announce unconfirmed reports about the President. Zodiak and Daily Times wrote sensational stories about APM. They wished him dead. And you expected the President to remain quite? Mind you! He is a human being just like yourself. Please stop covering his stories and who cares. It will be good not read anything or listen anything from your station about APM. Try it. Nobody will miss it. We have the TVM which we listen and that is enough for us. Inu ziulutsani za nyau basi

      1. Eduardo says:

        Bravo Matapwata. Tiye nawoni ma Journalists osaukawa.

    2. Eduardo says:

      As I said yesterday, the media profession in Malawi is a miserable one and thrives on palm oiling. I gave an example of the whole Editor of a Saturday news paper-I think the paper belongs to the Times Group. This blank-headed Editor writes about Peter Mutharika and DPP Government every Saturday. I think he comes from the Central Region and aligns himself so much to the MCP that everything he sees about Mutharika is bad. How can this be? There are certain good things happening in this country but he will never write them. He just chooses negatives. I gave such examples as the Mulanje Water Project which will ease water problems Blantyre is facing; the Salima Water Project which will ease water problems in Lilongwe; the Kamwamba Coal Power Plan to be commissioned this month which will end the power problems; city and rural roads; public sector reforms (Road Traffic Directorate and Immigration) as classical examples; supporting our reccurerent budget on our own-In fact, Mutharika is the only president in the history of this country to have worked for close to three years without donor budgetary support and this country is not on its knees. Is this not commendable? It clear shows that this Editor’s pieces of writing are based on hatred and malice. Just read the Times on Saturday for this week to get a sense of what I am talking about. Poverty journalism.

      1. Central says:

        @Eduardo: Inunso ndiye a chitsiru otheratu!! Kuteroko you think all those from Central Region ndi adani a DPP!! Chitsiruuuuuuuuuuuuu!! Chilima, Ntaba, Kalilani, all Central Region DPP supporters and District Governors etc ndi a Hlomwe?

        You mean all those against Mulanje Water project are from the Central Region! Chitsiru, ndiwe odzikonda, and too tribalistic!! If you have nothing to share, better be quiet!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Eduardo says:

          Inu a Central olo munditukwane nde mupindula chiyani. What I have written are facts. You just hate the president to the extent that you do not see anything good from him. I am also from Central Region by the way but I do not see tribes but Malawians who were all created in the image of God. The fact remains, some so called Malawian journalists are so miserable and desperate for money and write bad about others. I have challenged you on this Editor from the Times. Bwanji osatsutsa if I am lying.

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