Malawi News defies closure, coming out on Saturday as usual: Media watchdog Misa ‘disturbed’

The flagship weekly newspaper, Malawi News will hit the streets as usual on Saturday despite being closed by Malawi Revenue Authority over millions in  unpaid taxes, Nyasa Times has learnt.

Kasakula and Khanje: Media is oxygen of democrcay

The tax-body seized property  of Malawi News publishers , Times Group and closed the news organisation at Ginnery Corner in Blantyre.

But Malawi News is coming out  with the front page dominated by events surrounding its closure by MRA who the editor in chief George Kasakula says are acting under instructions from State House calling it an “act of impunity” from government.

“It is impunity and lawlessness on the part of the government. Just imagine, they came with a notice on Thursday around 4pm and, instead of offering us a chance for negotiations as they do in such cases — as you know that sometimes their figures can be wrong and you negotiate — they came 12 hours later to seize our property,” Kasakula said.

Reacting to the news, most people took on social media saying they are prepared to pay a little to save the news organisation which is playing its rightful role as a watchdong to the society and keeping government in check.

Meanwhile,  Malawi chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Malawi) said in a statement that it is “disturbed “with the closure  of Times.

“While MISA Malawi does not condone default on taxes, we strongly believe that the closure of Times Group is ill-timed and can easily be construed as an attempt by government to stop the media house from further publication of the ‘maize gate’ stories specifically and silence critical voices generally,” Misa-Chairperson Thom Khanje said in a statement seen by Nyasa Times.

Khanje, a former business editor at Times, said the  issue of unpaid taxes could have easily been resolved through mutual business negotiations.

“The closure of Times Group comes less than a week after the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) sought an injunction restraining the media outlet from publishing stories on the ‘maize gate.’

“The move by MRA will deny Malawians access to relevant information and likely to tarnish the image of the Peter Mutharika administration. The move is also likely to affect the operations of Times Radio and Times Television, in addition to those of Times newspapers,” Misa-Malawi said.

MISA Malawi says it believes that the best approach would have been to engage Times Group and resolve the matter in an amicable manner.

In the statement, MISA Malawi appealed  to MRA and President Mutharika to re-open Times Group offices and allow for a progressive means of resolving the tax issues.

“Such a move will help to clear the impression that government has started taking systematic steps to suffocate the media, thereby strangling our young democracy in the process,” Khanje said.

Meanwhile, Times Group lawyer Patrick Mpaka was at High Court in Blantyre to seek relief  to get  the news organisation up and running.

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MWANGALAMWMWANGALAMWENE
Guest

to pay or not to pay……Malawi remains the same….bcoz the rooters r still in power…en they r called ….good names like…president…minister…ps..directors..board members..to mention a few

Umbava
Guest

Times Group more fire please, apa ndiye Agoofula. ndithu ndiponso tindale tawo ta a dpp tachibwana kwambiri “TIMES GROUP For MALAWIANS” imatiimirira

George Madondo
Guest

Mmalo molongosola zinthu basi tikuthawila kundale,mma boarder umu katundu wathu akumatsalira mmbuyo wina kuthera pompo and sitinalirepo kuti ndi MCP,UDF,DPP PP and now DPP again.MRA si DPP,tiyeni a Malawi tione pamene zinthu zalakwika mmalo mongoloza chala DPP at the same time kukhalira kumbuyo ma MEDIA Group akhuzidwawo.Osapereka msonkho bwanji?

Spectator
Guest

MRA yachedwa inakaseka before khani yamapondedwe a chimanga kuzambia and Maize gate isanatuluke zikanamveka.. MRA musasokoneze Maize gate. Muzaseke Times Maize gate ikatha. apo bii ndiye kuti mwatumidwa ndi Mulumbe plus Chaponda.

Chaponda watiponda Amalawi heavy

Chikadya
Guest

There is mediocre management at Times..CEO chikadya amangogula magalimoto ndi kuchotsa anthu nchito instead of paying tax.. muona akapeleka tax achotsanso anthu ntchito.. Ndalama za tax tikuzifuna tigulire mankhwala mzipatala..how can we develop as a country if we have companies that fail to pay tax.. there is failed leadership at Times.. we demand transparency and accountability at Times.. tell the nation where the taxi meant for government has gone.. we need a commission of inquiry at Times and meanwhile chikadya should resign as we investigate this tax non compliance since 2009

Kambewa Chisale
Guest

DPP government foseki we know that most of this stit government departments have outstanding bills for several companies Escom, Blantyre water board, Nick, Lilongwe water board , city rates for all our major cities. If you want titfortat Escom and water board should cut their supply now because of outstanding debt.

Nyooo
Guest

Good suggestion, just open an account with TNM mpamba or Airtel money for contributions from good willing pipo.

Byron
Guest
You can run but you can’t hide. They will try to suffocate media houses but information will keep flowing. These people are barbaric. Look at the timing of the closure. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear MRA cooked up figures to justify their need for closing the Times media house. Times officials claimed they have been paying taxes every month,therefore, were they underpaying taxes against the company’s turnover? If so, is Times media group the only one in default? If the DPP government preaches about democratic ideals, why is it that it is using government agencies such MRA and MACRA… Read more »
J. B. C Atate
Guest

Much as the closure appears to be politically motivated, Times Group is on the wrong side of the law. Nobody can justify the need for time for negotiations since Times Group was already aware of it’s duty to pay taxes. By defaulting to pay tax, Times Group has also deprived Malawians of services that could have been provided using that tax. This is hypocrisy.

Patriot
Guest

Amwenye ambiri salipila ma tax ndi ma company awo….lero mwati mulimbane ndi a malawi owned company..#petermutharikawantsacardiacarrest

wpDiscuz

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