The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has imposed a fine of $625 on private radio, Galaxy FM for contravening the provisions of the Code of Conduct for broadcasting Services.
Macra imposed the fine after finding the radio station of guilty of breaching clauses 3 and 5 of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasting Services contained in the Third Schedule to the Communications Act.
In October 2013, Galaxy Radio through a public debate program aired a list of companies and their shareholders said to be involved in the “cash gate” scandal.
This contravened the Third Schedule to the Communications Act, according to Macra’s Director General, Charles Nsaliwa.
“Galaxy Radio failed to comply with Clause 3of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters in that it failed to state that its broadcast was based on allegations and suppositions against the parties said to be involved in the “cash-gate” scandal,” said Nsaliwa, adding it also failed to verify the accuracy of the information it broadcast.
Galaxy Radio failed to contact any of the parties mentioned in program and failed to have divergent views during the broadcast of the program. Those mentioned were condemned unheard and the general public was denied an opportunity of hearing what the mentioned parties could have said in their defense, according to Macra.
“A case in point was the mention by Galaxy Radio of Principal Secretary, Mr. Fletcher Zenengeya in the ministry of disability and elderly affairs who was alleged to own a company involved in the cash gate scandal when on fact Mr. Fletcher Zenengeya did not own the mentioned company,” says Nsaliwa.
Clause R of the Code of Conduct for Broadcastin Services requires broadcasters to report news truthfully, accurately and objectively without intentional or negligent departure from the facts.
“Galaxy Radio was called to a meeting by Authority where it admitted contravening the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasting Services,” said Nsaliwa.