Free public broadcaster MBC in 60 days from ‘DPP capture’, CSOs demand Malawi leader in petition
Civil society organisations (CSOs) who conducted demonstration on Friday have included in the 10-point petition on the conduct of public broadcaster MBC and demands Malawi President Peter Mutharika to let his government free MBC within 6o days so that opposition political parties and other stakeholders have access to the tax-funded station.
They have asked the opening up of the air waves by the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and let officials work professionally without any intimidation from ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“MBC is a public broadcaster not DPP or Party Broadcaster. We give you, Your Excellency Sir, 60 days to free MBC from DPP’s capture and to allow it to work independently and professionally as provided by law,” reads the petition.
They have also demanded Malawi Communicatiobs Regulatory Authority (MACRA)’ MBC and Malawi Electoral Commission’s action on rights group’s letter of complaint on MBC’s political biasness and contravention of the law within 60 days.
Governance commentator and Nyasa Times columnist Lowani Mtonga argues that the lack of editorial independence and opening up of MBC airwaves is against the spirit of Communications Act and the Constitution.
The Communications Act clearly spells out under Section 87 of the public mandate of MBC to operate without any bias or serve any political interests, he noted.
Mtonga states that MBC ignores the Constitution which categorically states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression and that the media has the right to publish freely.
“This entails MBC to be neutral and serve public interests regardless of people’s political views. It is a platform for public discourse which makes MBC to be in a unique position. But the broadcaster is falling short of this mandate,” he states.
Mtonga said while CSOs have a valid point in asking government to open up MBC to all political players, other practical options need to be explored.
“They have to pressurise MBC to ensure the Communications Act is followed. They need to discuss and present a petition to MBC management to demand answers why the public broadcaster is not opening up to divergent views in line with the constitution and Communications Act. We know government has a problem. But MBC management has a problem too. They operate with reference to what government would want to hear instead of being professional and respecting the law.
“MBC has an obligation under the law to serve everyone. But it uses pro-government agents such as chiefs and individuals to advance government agenda and discredit those with dissenting views. As a result, they fall short of performing to the expected standard because they owe their allegiance to political leaders,”Mtonga argued.
He said another petition should be presented to MPs, especially the Parliamentary Committee on Media and Communications.
“One wonders what this committee does. If members knew their role, they should have summoned MBC management to explain why the public broadcaster continues to be unprofessional. MPs have abandoned their oversight role. If they exercised their oversight role, the issue of MBC unprofessional conduct would long been resolved.
He pointed our that MACRA is equally a failed organisationwhich has abandoned its responsibility to ensure that MBC follows a Code of Ethics as enshrined in the Communications Act.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :
Every time I tune in to MBCTv it’s Nankhumwa, Jappie Mhango, Geffrey daily in their news broadcast. TV Dpp.
PHILLIP BUSINESS HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU SEE THE PLACARD. HOW HAVE YOU ALLOWED POLITICIANS TO USE YOU AND TARNISH YOUR PROFESSIONAL IMAGE. I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU AND YOUR CAREER.
He will regret this soon.
Are Malawians surprised that MBC is biased towards DPP? Selfishness and NEPOTISM is synonymous with Lhomwe tribe. Ndi mtundu wodzikonda, wodzikundikira. It’s iin their DNA. Look at the cabinet, directors in government sectors and parastatals, procurement contracts, the list is ENDLESS. And when BJ was minister of information during Muluzi’s time what happened with recruitment at MTL and TNM? Just profile names and their district of origin? Of coz they even openly boast about it, “expect no vote for any other party other than DPP from Lhomwe belt”. In fact given the chance this tribe would rather rule Malawi till… Read more »
The reason given by Dzuka Malawi is very shallow. BBC is a government owned media organisation, but the fact that it is funded by tax payers money it is very objective. If the Prime Minister messes up, they don’t ignore the mess, but expose it to the public. The point here should be that MBC is not professional- period. It does not require people to be vocal where the law is clear withing the Communications Act. Which is above the other – people or the law? What if the people march to MBC and get everyone out and put either… Read more »
You really didn’t understand my point Just Penny. My point is that in other countries like South Africa (and UK)……where they have government owned broadcasters, the public is so vocal that SABC and BBC can never be captured by the ruling party. In Malawi however, we are so inert, passive and unsophisticated to vocalise our distaste, at least in masses, for the use of MBC as a mouthpiece for ruling parties. These CSOs protests are nowhere near effective for ruling parties to abandon the use of MBC as a propaganda machinery. I hope you now understand what I am saying.
So MBC is captured
MBC is a National Broadcaster whose sole shareholder is the government. The government is controlled by the ruling party. Our history has shown that MBC was the mouthpiece of all the ruling parties from MCP, UDF, Bingu-DPP, PP and the Peter-DPP. MBC is a propound machinery unless it is partially privatised and its constitution or MOI amended appropriately. Although South Africa has managed to free SABC from ANC propaganda, that has come from a vocal society. Malawians are no where near as vocal as South Africa, for example. Malawi is still in a “bwana, bwana, bwana” politics. Even if the… Read more »
Having such mind thus why MBC is still pro DPP.What you must know is DPP did not bring the MBC and its not a party broadcaster but its a Malawian Broadcaster hence it is suppose to broadcast anything regardless of which organisation or Region
Beasts of prey have surrounded the old president, that’s why MBC can’t be freed up . Akufuna azitukwana Chakwera pamenepo. Agogowa azipita akula, akalambitsa, ngakhale pakamwa mpobwafuka, kulankhula zomveka samatha, ndiotayilila , akungoba ndalama za boma mkumalubwalubwa pa MBC kuti anthu aku mudzi aziwona ngati zinthu zili bwino. DPP waitha yekha Pitala, yatha ngati makatani.
Simunayende inu amene mukti a national broadcaster (MBC) should open up to the opposition groups. Were you there when the DPP was in opposition? What was PP doing.? Did it give DPP opposition Party a chance pto be heard on MBC. Dzukani a Malawi. Yendani muone zomwe zikuchitika mmaiko ena. You wiill never have opposition heard on National Radio. Leave DPP alone. It is thier time. A opposition ngato akufuna kumvedwa apite ku Times TV and Zodiak Not MBC
Stupid comment….then MBC should use tax only from people like you! Its our tax and we will not allow DPP to continue abusing MBC. Its people like you who are slowing down the development of this country through your ignorance. Maiko ake ati mwayenda inu…? Shut up!!
Mbuli iwe!!! Unayenda dziko lake liti kumene National Broadcaster angachite zauchitsiru zikuchitika PA MBC?
Two wrongs doesn’t make a right.If UDF & PP did that it doeasnt it should be a trend,if you really love DPP,let it make a difference.Open up.Inu kugwida chigololo akazi anu ndikupanganso.Palibe cholakwika pa inu????
This isw what we don’t want for our public broadcaster to side with a party
Malawians have become clever – they know that CSOs are there for their own stomachs. The reasons for the demos do not make sense.
Shame on CSOs and MCP. ALL the hype but VERY few people.
shame should be on cowards like you.
Achitsiru di inu
Shame on you stupid person who can’t even see the crowd
How useless pipo like u destroy our nation. Your children will feel the pain malawians are passing through.