Malawi president Peter Mutharika says the past few months of his rule has demonstrated how serious his administration is in upholding the freedom of press in this Southern African country.
Mutharika told Malawi journalists Tuesday on his return of the AU Summit in Ethiopia that his administration has already managed to transform the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) from state-run radio into public service broadcaster.
“We are committed to freedom of press. We have reformed the radio programs on MBC. Everyone is now covered. Everyone who has something worthwhile to say they will be covered by MBC television or radio,” claimed Mutharika.
He therefore said he was surprised with an accusation published in local media where some people [chairperson for the Media Institute for the Southern Africa, Malawi chapter Thom Khanje] accused his administration of failing to honour its commitment that it will pass the Access to Information Law.
Khanje said in a published statement that the failure by Mutharika’s administration to bring the Bill in current sitting of parliament has put government’s integrity into question.
But Mutharika said it is unwise to accuse him of failure on the bill.
“We have been in government for only six months and d we cannot introduce all the laws in one session of parliament. It also should be known that there are other four bills lined up for debate during the current sitting. These are Marriage Bill, Human body parts trafficking bill, Electronic transfer bill and the sachets liquor Bill. “
Mutharika said it is a fact that parliament cannot be able to debate all these bills in three weeks’ time “so other bills will be discussed during later sessions.”
He therefore asked Malawi journalists and all those pushing for the passing of the Information Bill to exercise more patience.