MACRA tips broadcasters on Malawi election coverage

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is advising broadcasters not to broadcast any campaign material from political parties and candidates on their broadcasting stations after campaign period which closes at 6am on Sunday as required by the Parliamentary and Presidential Act.

The regulator says in a statement that it is only the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) that shall announce official results of the elections through the officially appointed Zodiak Broadcasting Station and MBC.

“Therefore any results that shall not be certified by MEC shall be required to be declared as ‘unofficial’ by the broadcasters,” reads the statement.

Macra boss Charkes Nsaliwa:  Only MEC will announce results through Zodiak and MBC
Macra boss Charkes Nsaliwa: Only MEC will announce results through Zodiak and MBC

MACRA is however to encouraging all broadcasters to work closely with MEC in the announcement of official elections results.

The regulator also urged political parties, candidates and political players to desist from using broadcasters in order to announce false elections results or declare themselves winners as this could be a recipe for violence and public disorder in the country.

“All broadcasting houses are strongly urged to ensure security and NEVER allow any INTRUDER in their live broadcasting studios”.

MACRA says shall expect all broadcasters to respect the announcement of the results and not incite violence by announcing anything in contravention to the MEC’s official announcement.

“The Authority would like to urge all broadcasters to conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner during and after the polling day so that we achieve a smooth and violence free elections”.

According to MACRA, any deviation from the instructions will lead the Authority to invoking its monitoring and enforcing powers as stipulated under section 54 of the Communications Act, “and indeed act in accordance to the doctrine of necessity.”

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