Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has summoned private owened Zodiak Broadcasting Service to a disciplinary hearing which is to be held in Blantyre, following an exclusive interview which the station offered to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) vice-chairperson Kamlepo Kalua .
Kalua, who is also Rumphi East member of Parliament (People’s Party-PP) and PP third vice-president, was being asked to comment on his reaction following 24 hour ultimatum which the Malawi President gave him to submit names of seven serving Cabinet ministers implicated in the forensic report as disclosed by Auditor General.
The aduit report covering the period 2009 to December 2014 established that about K236 billion and not K577 billion in public funds as initially estimated could not be accounted for.
The MACRA letter which Nyasa Times has seen bears Reference Number MACRA/DG/60/fi igned by its Director General, Godfrey Itaye, summon Zodiak officials to a meeting to
“We write to invite you for a meeting on Wednesday 24 August, 2016 at MACRA premises in Blantyre from 10:00,” reads the letter.
“The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the interview you conducted with Honourable Kamlepo Kalua which was aired on your radio on 16 August, at 8:00 am. In the interview Kamlepo Kalua alleges that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime killed Chasowa (Robert), United Democratic Front killed Matafale (Evison) and Fanikizo Phiri and that DPP wants to shed blood again.”
Macra letter further reads: “We find the broadcast in contravention with the communications Act and your broadcasting licence as it make unsubstantiated attacks on the two parties without giving them a right of reply as required by the schedule 3 of the of the communication act (Code of conduct for broadcasting).”
The letter also fault Zodiac interview for lacking journalistic judgement by allowing Kamlepo to make sensitive remarks.
But in a separate interviews, MISA Malawi Chairperson, Thom Khanje say MACRA is ordinarily mandated to regulate both radios and Television Stations in Malawi and summoning a station in itself should be no cause for worry.
He said Misa will follow up the matter with keen interest and appealed to Macra to ensure that rules of natural justice takes course.
“What would be of concern is where some political hand is behind the whole issue pulling the shots,” said Khanje.
Khanje has since urged MACRA to conduct itself in transparent and accountable manner in order to ensure that they do not divert from their mandate.