Hands off Malawi Broadcasting Corp, pass information bill -CSOs

Civil society organisation has called for a free and open Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) in a petition presented on Tuesday during the anti-government protests in Lilongwe.

Mtambo presenting the petition to Hara

Mtambo presenting the petition to Hara

Mtambo speaking during the demo

Mtambo speaking during the demo

The rights campaigners accused government over the use of the public radio station and television, saying they were not operating as national broadcaster but  propaganda stations for the ruling party.

“Malawians are concerned with the continued politicization of the state-media especially Malawi Broadcasting Corporation which continues to be a sole mouthpiece of the ruling party, and has often been used as a vessel to unleash attacks/propaganda of any critical voice,” reads the petition which was presented to President Mutharika through Lilongwe Chief Executive Richard Hara.

The CSOs condemned government for “parading of chiefs, vendors on state media to attack critical voices of the regime”, saying that “should be stopped.”

The activists asked government not to interfere with MBC editorial independence,  condemning he continued   political interference and even censorship in the field of state TV and radio broadcasting as unacceptable and retrogressive.

British High Commissioner Michael Nevin  is also on record  saying that every administration has wanted to control MBC to stop divergent views from being aired.

“I know that the journalists, the editors and senior managers at MBC are professional and they need to be left alone to do their job professionally. That is not only a democratic principle but it makes commercial sense because if MBC concentrate on announcing one-sided issues, they will lose listenership for the radio and viewership for the TV,” Nevin is on record saying.

MBC gets subvention from the national purse where every Malawian who pays tax contributes. Many commentators say it is worrisome to deny the taxpayer an opportunity of accessing public resources.

University of Malawi’s constitutional lawyer Associate Professor Edge Kanyongolo argued that MBC is required by law to open up to all political parties not only during elections but all times.

It has always been argued that the freedom of the state media broadcasting is based on the right guaranteed by the constitution and in conformity with which individuals can search, receive, prepare, pass and spread information legally.

There have been growing calls for the state broadcaster to be transformed into independent institutions of public broadcasting whose mandate will be to serve public interest and not partisan political interests of those in power.

Meanwhile, the civil society groups have also pointed out that the Mutharika government is “equally only rhetorically committed” to passing the Access to Information Bill.

“Malawians observe that the enactment of access to information law is taking unnecessarily too long,” CSOs noted.

They  reminded government  that Access to Information Bill is a Constitutional provision which can only be exercised upon its enactment.

According to CSOs the Bill will help “inculcating the culture of transparency and accountability in public finance” and the nation at large which will also contribute in our fight against evil act such as fraud, corruption, rooting and plundering of resources.

The Malawi Cabinet in February 2014 approved an access to information policy, setting the stage for introduction of ATI legislation.

Minister of Information and Civic Education Kondwani Nankhumwa said he will soon present an access to information bill to parliament.

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Gobachev Harawa
Guest

MBC is for informing ,educating and entertaining people not for coverage of CSO meeting if they want they can hire MBC and pay for the services provided only if the coverage does not bring war as what happened in Rwanda

Gobachev Harawa
Guest

By then,the CSO were JB and PP militants ,they just want to destabilize the ruling party. they should shut up their mouth

Gona n'kuphe sali patali
Guest
Gona n'kuphe sali patali

Even a blind and deaf person acknowledges that indeed MBC is a trush so its surprising dat u pipo can’t see dis. Wake up dis country belongs even 2 ur kids who by de tym vei hav grown up ndale sizizakhala zokomera inu muzalira kuti pyoooo!

The Truthful One from the West
Guest
The Truthful One from the West

On MBC I AGREE WITH CSOs. IT IS HOPELESSLY PARTISAN TOWADS DPP. It is disgusting.

phodogoma
Guest
My fellow dear contributors open your eyes, JB did not open MBC to the public. It was an influence of Mbendera who issued a directive that MBC should be open to alll during campaigns. Of course Mbendera did it because he was abig man was playing his cards quiet well. What did you see on 20 th May 2014? Did it work against the wish of the Mbendera and APM? OPON YOUR EYES AND SEE FAR FAR AWAY. It was a game. Refer to news papers of those days and remind yourself what did Mbendera say about MBC radio and… Read more »
Ngongoliwa
Guest

SO CALLED DOMININC, YOU ARE RIGHT ON CASH GATE. BUT WHENEVER YOU THINK OF CASH GATE, DO NOT LEAVE THE K92BN CASH GATE PLUNDERED BY YOUR DPP B4 THE K13BN PLUNDERED DURING THE JB ADMINISTRATION. I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO MENTION NAMES OF DPP IN HOUSE COMPANIES WHICH CASHED HUGE MONEYS WITHOUT SUPPLYING A SINGLE BOTTLE OF INSECTICIDE, YET YOU CONCEAL ALL THIS. NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR JUSTICE TO BE DONE, YOU WILL BE ANSWERABLE NOT VERY LONG FROM NOW. REMEMBER IT TOOK ALMOST A CENTURY FOR UK TO PAY KENYA ON WAR CRIMES

Dominic
Guest

Stop taking Malawians for granted – we NOW know you extremely well. Your Logical Frameworks talk of Demonstrations and nothing else. We know if you don’t stage demonstrations yo will not get money from your donors – what a stupid donor. You are all stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dominic
Guest
What do you mean when you say “Malawians are concerned”, who are you talking about? . Possibly you yourself are “Malawians”. Who told you that the issues you have raised concern every Malawian citizen, do you think that your concerns are concerns for every Malawian? Count me out of the list!!!. My main concern is cashgate, which unfortunately is not your concern because you were the Adviser of the Madam JB and benefited much from that. I know Sembereka from A to Z. I have worked with him in Balaka where he established the so called “Maphunziro Foundation”Organization and stole… Read more »
BECHI
Guest

Baseless and naïve do malawians concerned a bout this ? Mavuto anu osamawapasa anthu ena a chete maliro amai Tembo mumaonela pa BBC?

Chilungamo Chimawawa
Guest

DPP ndi chipani cha ma khuluku ndi ma criminals, thus why they don’t wont to let MBC free, akuopa ingawaulule zambiri. I just hope Liabunya’s prophecy will come to pass mwina tingaone zina!

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