Government has bullied Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to rescind its decision to reprimand Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) over dwindling standards.
In a letter from Macra director general Geoffrey Itaye says Macra was withdrawing an earlier letter summoning MBC for the hearing because “we have gathered new information which needs further investigation.”
However our source says minister of Information Mark Botomani called Itaye to tell him to leave MBC alone to do the Democratic Progressive Party propaganda.
MACR summoned MBC for hearing over a broadcast which referred to Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) as ‘gulu la za uchifwamba (terrorist group).
In a letter addressed to MBC’s Director-General dated January 20, 2020 and signed by Itaye, the regulatory body bemoans what it calls dwindling standards at the taxpayers-funded broadcaster.
Another incident highlighted in the letter is a broadcast where a guest in a program, in reference to alleged rape cases in Msundwe, described rape as something that is done with consent from the victim.
“MACRA, through its monitoring system, has observed with concern the dwindling standards of your broadcasts within the past days. To substantiate the point above, we are in possession of a recording which was extracted from the news bulletin broadcast on 16th January 2020 in which your news reader referred to the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) as gulu la za uchifwamba (terrorist group)”.
MACRA says these statements were abusive and insulting as well as likely to affect public order and tranquility contrary to the communications act.
The hearing was set for 09:00 hours on Tuesday – January 28, 2020.