Malawi private media commended for robust electoral coverage: MBC blasted for fabricated content

The Malawi media has been commended for their professionalism to achieve robust and inquisitive coverage in the just conducted court sanctioned fresh presidential elections by a consortium comprising of the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Public Trust, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), the Public Affairs Committee and the Mhub.

Journalists doing election results coverage from the national tally centre

But the civil society group has lambasted state run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) for favoritism.

Briefing the press at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre, the consortium’s Chairperson, Boniface Chibwana said media coverage of the electoral process was robust especially by private and faith-based and community media houses.

“However, despite improving the policy and legal framework through amendments to electoral laws (2015), Communications Act (2016) and Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act (2016), the state broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation persisted in its biased coverage in favour of the ruling party,” said Chibwana from a jointly prepared statement.

The chairperson said in addition to conventional bias, the state-media house sank as low as it engaged in modification of facts, fabricating counter narratives, misinforming the nation and being uncouth and obscene in their language and publications on opposition politicians adding that mention of opposition parties and candidates on MBC outlets was mostly for negative publicity and ridicule. 

He emphasised that MACRA has been unable or unwilling to take action against MBC as both institutions appear to have been politically captured and repurposed in the service of the DPP regime pointing out that in sharp contrast with the 2019 elections MACRA did not track and publish coverage of political party election activities as was done in previous elections.

“This omission of duty means that the Electoral Commission and other election stakeholders were left without systematic quantitative evidence of unfair coverage or access to public media by all parties and candidates as required by electoral law,” said Chibwana.

Turning to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), the consortium observed that the implementation of section 63(2) of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act was sub-optimal as per expectation of furthering democratic ideals is concerned.

The section provides that MEC may, on arrangement with the MBC, allocate time on television and radio during which political parties and candidates may be allowed to speak in campaigning for an election, allocate equal time to every party.

“There is no evidence whatsoever that this was complied with or that there were any attempts to comply with this. iii. The consortium observed that so far the best remedy MEC has provided upon receiving complaints on the conduct of MBC in relation to the election is to issue cautionary letters to MBC and rely on goodwill for compliance,” Chibwana said.

The consortium further observed that the social media turned out to be a double-edged sword during the elections in that, while it widely and quickly spread official communications about the elections, prompting transparency and responsiveness of duty bearers in the process, it was also abused to spread fake news

Chibwana said civic education of voters had low Civil Society Organisation (CSO) involvement in monitoring, mass mobilization and civic and voter education for the FPE was low.

“The CSO sector has continued to face severe resource constraints for purposes of civic education since suspension of the basket fund that had been created for this purpose. Media reports on unofficial results suggest that voter turnout and the number of null and void votes in the FPE may be significant,” he says.

Adding, “This appears to be a direct result of the limited reach of CSOs to carry out tailored civic education for the FPE as the political landscape changed significantly. The consortium will carry out a detailed analysis when official data is made available to identify areas where voter turn-out and null and void votes have best worst and identify explanatory factors that should be addressed for future elections.”

The consortium recommended that electoral stakeholders led by the Ministry of  Civic Education, Culture and Community Development and the Electoral Commission should review the design and implementation of  the civic and voter education basket fund and come up with a revised  but sustainable financing model for civic and voter education.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Mpakaten
Guest

Sumbuleta watszikatu, boma latsopano lisanayambe. The guys know his chances of survival are almost nil, otherwise he should have been comfortable despite change of government. He knows what he has performed. He has bid farewell to his Directors today and he is gone, on his own – just imagine. The job must be advertised, no more political appointments in the statutory bodies. Job seekers must be able to market themselves and convince the prospective employers. This is the only way performance and standards will improve.

President Chisokonezo
Guest
President Chisokonezo

A MBC mumakhala ngati a ku North Korea bwanji?

Mangochi Kabwafu
Guest
Mangochi Kabwafu

Mutharika Broadcasting Cooperation kodi, oops! Muluzi Broadcasting Cooperation, I beg your pardon, Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation kodi? How are they covering these elections now? Wina atsatira agogo ake ndithu.

B Nkhani
Guest
B Nkhani

Cover is by being silent unless I missed something

Lego
Guest

All staffs from MBC needs to be chopped.

M Cheka Chilenje
Guest
M Cheka Chilenje

Not all my bro. but leadership especially Greyson Chapita.

B Nkhani
Guest
B Nkhani

When killing a snake you cut off the head

Williams
Guest
Williams

Exactly leadership shld be chopped out

Phwisa
Guest
Phwisa

It’s only stupid people who can support the article. What MBC has been doing will be exactly the same during this MCP government. Its their mandate to work like that. So if anyone hopes it will work like Zodiak it Times then maloto a chumba amenewo.

Mwikho
Guest
Mwikho

You must be one of the STUPID and DULL people at MBC.

Mangochi Kabwafu
Guest
Mangochi Kabwafu

Its a NATIONAL asset existing because of TAX PAYERS (not party payers) money. Look at the likes of BBC. I don’t believe Chakwera and Chilima will be as stupid as Mutharika and his bunch. Heads must first roll though.

Mathanyula
Guest

Chakwera and Chilima are democrats and cann’t repeat the stupidity of dpp. Mark my words MBC will certainly change to serve all Malawians equally

Nkuzilire
Guest
Nkuzilire

i agee your name is phwisa

shares