Malawi media is biased – presidential aide

President Bingu wa Mutharika holds the view that there is blatant anti-government bias in Malawi private media, according to his spokesman Hetherwick Ntaba.

Ntaba noted that there is bias and inaccurate reporting of Malawi journalists hence failure to attract government officials for interviews.

He was responding to a question by Capital Radio Straight Talk host Brian Banda why President Mutharika granted an exclusive interview  to BBC for their flagship interactive interview programme  Have Your Say yet he does not open up to local media.

Ntaba: Malawi journalists distort facts

During the interview with BBC, Alex Jakana pressed Mutharika questions in familiar way Banda’s Straight Talk does with other guests in the popular programme.

Banda said Mutharika has not been responding to written invitations to be interviewed on Capital Radio. The President normally prefers state media for his statements.

But Ntaba said Malawi journalists were to blame for being biased against government.

“It is you people in the media who are demonising, castigating, disrespecting and spreading false stories against the president,” Ntaba alleged.

“It’s you people in the media who don’t see anything correct in what the president is doing,” he said, adding “therefore you should not be surprised if he is not rushing to you for interviews.”

Ntaba claimed Malawi journalism is crap and is failing to attract politicians for interviews.

“Most of us politicians find the kind of journalism that is being practised in this country leaving a lot to be desired. You are one sided. You are biased. You distort facts that is why most of us will not be too happy to grant you interviews,” he said.

“We will be much happier to grant interviews to other media organisations whom we know to be very professional and not biased, “said Ntaba.

Ntaba frequently uses state media to refute stories that normally appear in the private press and online such as Nyasa Times.

Asked if he was a master of rebuttals, the presidential spin doctor pointed out that he clarifies issues and not refute.

“I refuse to accept your characterisation that I am a refuter.”

President Mutharika often accuses local independent media of negative reporting about Malawi. He threatened in 2009 to shut down those he accused of lying when they reported that up to one million people would need food aid and recently assented to a law that allows publications to be banned.

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