Malawi CSOs censure Mutharika over media gagging

Two leading human rights watchdogs Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) have cautioned President Peter Mutharika against taking the path of his predecessors who in one way or the other attempted to cripple the operations of the media especially those which were deemed to be critical of the government of the day.

After taking a jibe at Nyasa Times recently from Waldof Astoria Hotel in New York where he was attending the 68th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, President Mutharika took another jibe at the online publication, claiming it peddles malicious falsehoods about him, citing the recent report where the publication reported about his alleged extravagance whilst in New York.

But in a statement, the two rights groups observed with dismay the growing anger against and “intolerance” to media criticism that has of late become of President Mutharika’s regime, and appealed to the Head of State to respect and protect media freedom in the country to avoid repeating the mistakes of his predecessors.

Gift Trapence :A President must learn to absorb cruel and well-meaning criticism from the media

Gift Trapence :A President must learn to absorb cruel and well-meaning criticism from the media

Mtambo: Do not gag the media

Mtambo: Do not gag the media

“While respecting the President’s freedom of expression, we at CHRR and Cedep have of late observed President’s Mutharika’s growing anger against and some level of “intolerance” to media criticisms a situation if not corrected at this infant stage may have grave repercussions in the long run in as far as his government’s track record on the respect and protection of media freedom is concerned.

“His government’s recent singling out of Nation Publications Limited editor and columnist George Kasakula and now Nyasa Times online publications as being hell-bent at thwarting his political and development agenda is regrettable, and has the potential of instilling fear in the media community and hence impinging on their media freedom. We therefore urge the President to desist from any steps that would tarnish his government’s image and stifle free exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms including the media freedom,” reads part of the statement signed by Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence, executive directors of CHRR and Cedep.

The rights groups also took a swipe to attack all the regimes that had graced the country political history since 1994 as being “intolerant” to media criticism.

“CHRR and Cedep observe with dismay the perennial disease that is our governments of perceiving the private media especially those which are deemed critical of the prevailing government as opposition agents or mercenaries. Apart from the recent Nyasa Times and Nation Publications Limited George Kasakula experience, memories are afresh of how Raphael Tenthani, Mavuto Banda, Malawi Voice’s Justice Mponda, Zodiak,and NPL landed themselves in trouble with the previous regimes just for exposing the truth as guided by their media calling.

“Informed by such a background, we at CHRR and Cedep realize that governments are always ready, if not properly checked, to use their machinery just to suppress any dissent views, and as such precautions should be taken to address any symptom pointing to that undesirable direction as should be the case in the current APM-Nyasa Times saga”.

CHRR and Cedep also faulted Mutharika, and the previous regimes, of always blaming the media in the country of being unpatriotic whenever they publish stories that exposes the gaffes of the government of the day.

“Patriotism should never be equated to speaking or writing ‘feel good’ news about the prevailing governments when the reality on the ground is different – a reality characterized by growing nepotism, abuse of power and public resources, non-respect of human rights and good governance. A patriotic media house is that which calls a spade by its name – a media house that for instance exposes the prevailing nepotism, cashgate, human rights abuses and other prevailing hidden truths – so that the public is well informed towards a lasting solution. It’s pathetic that all of our governments since 1994 have often used this fallacious argument just to manipulate the public to rise against the unpatriotic media.”

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Duck
Guest

Bad signs yachan munthu asalankhule zomwe anaona kuti zalakwika he has freedom to do that

Madala
Guest
Mutharika should just say ‘ some media publications are doing XYZ’. He is not supposed to mention names of publications and individuals from the high platform he holds because that causes fear in journalists. They stop reporting their true opinions and become handclappers because they are wary of being named and shamed, except for the really fearless ones . APM is playing a dirty game and CSOs are right to check him. Somebody needs to otherwise things could get out of hand. The man has the makings of an autocrat, he seems unable to tolerate negative criticsm and that is… Read more »
Herbs
Guest

I can’t agree with you CSOs

Youre trying to confuse Malawians too bad

Aichetu
Guest

Hahahaha so CHRR and CEDEP would like to make people think that APM can be a dictator?

That is wrong what he said at that conference does not in any way qualify that he would be a dictator and suppressor of media freedom

Chaka
Guest

CSOs mabodza bas

Hand
Guest

Nthawizonse kumpezera chifukwa munthu

Aaaaaaa

SIBO
Guest

anyone who regards himself an enemy to the media is an enemy to the truth.

MAKANANI
Guest

WALORENI ATUMBUKA AZIPITA AKAWONE ZINA ! KODI MUKUWOPA CHANI A FARAO INU ?? ZOONA ANTHU 50 YEARS NO AIRPORT NO STADIUM QUOTA MKATI ??

Central
Guest

Go! go! go! go! go! go! Nyasa Times!! Ndimayesa ananena yekha kuti he was putting up in a room that was costing $2,000!! Tsopano inu mwalakwa chani?? Osatanganidwa naye ameneyo, truth pains and no wonder they are panicking!! Amayesa nobody was following on behalf of the populous!! Ubveeeeee basi with tax payers money mtchona ameneyu!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ngati zikuwathupsya let APM and DPP akakolope Lake Malawi!!!!!!!

Mbolo Yotota
Guest

ukukakokope ndiwe anthu akaduka ndi nsanje munya muona,kumaikira kumbuyo za mabodza munaluza basi mudikire 2034.munya muona.

Cliff K Gama
Guest

Malawi without the media can not sustain.

Francis Luwani
Guest

The media should learn to take criticism and not being defensive all the time. Mutharika was right to expresss his concern and the media should not make us believe that they are right all the time. let us be fair with each other.

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