CAMA organises demo against Malawi Broadcasting Corp.

Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA), the country’s main consumers’ body, has announced that it will hold a solidarity march against state broadcaster the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) for the deplorable manner in which it is conducting itself.

The solidarity march – being orchestrated by the association’s northern region chapter – will be held on Friday, 27th September 2013 in Mzuzu from Katoto Filling Station to the city’s civic offices, according to a statement  which Nyasa Times has seen.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, CAMA’s regional coordinator Isaac Gondwe stressed that the change at MBC is long overdue saying consumers cannot continue being flooded with state propaganda and lies, let alone pay for a political campaign or half-truths for the incumbency or ruling parties.

Isaac Gondwe - MBC demos in the offing
Isaac Gondwe – MBC demos in the offing

Said Gondwe: “As we draw close to 2014 elections, we fear MBC is showing signs of reluctance to leveling the playing field during election campaign by limiting access to public media by other political players and purposely distorting information, hence limiting access to information and misleading consumers.”

“If our ruling elite want to personalize television stations let them own theirs. They shouldn’t abuse MBC at our expense,” he added.

Gondwe called on all consumers to participate in the solidarity march. He said all those living outside Mzuzu City could participate by wearing something black on the material day.

He brushed aside any speculations of simply trying to frustrate the Joyce Banda administration.

“If those speculations are there, they are welcome,” he said. “But they aren’t true.”

He added that all the necessary procedures are being followed as regards the march including the city council and the police.

According to the statement, CAMA “fears MBC is consolidating a serious conspiracy against citizens as the institution blatantly continues to misinform and mislead the populace.”

MBC has by far failed to execute its mandate in resonance with peoples’ expectation, hence eroding public confidence, institutional integrity and professionalism, the statement says.

CAMA argues that MBC’s coverage and programming is biased towards the ruling elite.

“It is regrettable that the state broadcaster can only remain a cinema of presidential diaries and ministerial parades at the expense of national development. While the past administrations (MCP, UDF and DPP) jealously abused MBC, the current government is regrettably bent on repeating the same mistakes, despite assurances to transform the public funded state broadcaster.

“As Tax payers and consumers of information, we behold that MBC remains a centre of misinformation marred by partisan political propaganda contrary to section 43 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2003 which clearly demands any supplier of technology, goods and services to provide consumers with true, sufficient, and timely information so that consumers make a proper and informed choice.

“MBC is in serious abdication of its legal mandate as a state broadcaster, hence the need to challenge the current state of affairs. The current state of MBC bergs fundamental questions about government’s commitment to good governance and respect for human rights.

“It is the undertaking of the government of Malawi to employ fair and credible policies, laws and administrative measures to ensure that consumers draw maximum benefit from national and economic resources as enshrined in Section 4 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2003. It is disheartening that after 49 years of independence; a public service paid by the people resists change and insists to serve handful political elite,” the statement further reads.

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