Malawi’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has issued threats to all civil servants to stop reading titles of the independent Nation Publications Limited (NPL) and renewed the directive of withdrawing all official advertising from the company’s titles.
DPP’s Director for Youth, Frank Mwenefumbo, issued the threats at a public rally attended by President Bingu wa Mutharika in the eastern city of Zomba on Sunday.
“Government must not advertise in The Nation,” he directed, accusing the publication of being disrespectful to President Mutharika.
He said anyone found reading the newspaper will be suspected of being sympathisers of those wishing to topple Government.
“If we see a civil servant reading The Nation we will not have trust in them,” he warned.
NPL publishes Malawi’s flagship daily The Nation, Weekend Nation, Nation on Sunday and FUKO, a fortnightly vernacular newspaper in Chichewa and Tumbuka.
The company’s deputy Chief Executive Officer Alfred Mtonga has since described DPP threats as “totally uncalled for” .
This is not the first time for Mutharika administartion to issue prohibition to government ministries, departments and parastatals to advertise in NPL titles
Government , including President Mutharika, have often accused the NPL of being too critical of the regime.
But the media house, founded by the late veteran politician Aleke Banda, has always maintained that all its publications are “well balanced.”