The Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA) has slammed some “invisible political machinations” behind the action by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to seal the headquarters of the Times Media Group because of outstanding tax payments.
JUMA, through a press statement signed by its president Mtheto Lungu and Secretary General Charles Nkula said they strongly believe that, in a frantic effort to save the battered image of the government, authorities are using the state machinery in trying to muzzle the media group from further providing the local and internationalcommunity with information regarding the belligerent purchase of maize from Zambia.
“JUMA would like to point out to government the serious consequences of such a decision, which may lead to loss of employment by staff of the media company, loss of livelihoods for their dependents, as well as loss of their socio-economic contributions to the societies where they belong.
“Already, Malawi is struggling to lift 21 percent of its 17 million plus people out of unemployment and cannot afford to add to this figure. Especially at this time when the country is in an economic slowdown and when most Malawians do not know where their next meal is going to come from,” reads part of the statement.
Malawi’s employment figures, which indicate that only 4 percent of the population are engaged in professional occupations and that 89 percent of working persons are in the informal employment setups – characterised by worse working conditions in form of less income, social protection, work safety, and representation – are not impressive at all.
The statement further reads that to avoid plunging the nation into further misery, poverty and inequality, JUMA would like to encourage the leadership to reconsider its decision, re-open and engage in a dialogue with the Times Media Group as it does with all other tax defaulters.
It states that “Media freedom and journalists’ work rights cannot be afforded to be carelessly frustrated and wasted as that will derail socio-economic development strides.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :