The taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has received K1.8 billion from the K84.7 billion allocation to subvented organisations in the 2018/19 National Budget after government defeated an opposition motion to reduce to K1 their funding for producing pro-government propaganda despite relying on funds from taxpayers holding divergent political views.
Dowa North East Member of Parliament, Sam Kawale, moved a motion which Members of Parliament (MP) Thursday resolved to vote that Parliament should allocate K1 to the public broadcasrer for promoting hate speech.
“I beg to move that the money to vote 275 be reduced by K1.8 billion and let ,BC be given K1 because instead of it serving the nation it has turned out to do a disservice by promoting hate seech,” said Kawale in moving the Motion.
He added: ““We have witnessed the failure of the institution to adhere to its core values and mission [despite] that [it] thrives on the taxpayers’ money. The majority of people who pay taxes on monthly basis are complaining of the unprofessionalism of what is supposed to be a public entity. They are complaining every day of hate language, bias in terms of reporting and programming. If these cannot be contained easily, [they can] lead to anarchy and instability in this country.”
In the vote, out of the 193 MPs, 115 were present and 77 absent. The votes had seen 74 MPs against the idea, 40 were for the idea while one abstained.
He added that they have observed that the media house has capacity to generate funds that can help it operate independently.
“MBC is much bigger than any other media institution in the country and, because of that, if private institutions are able to shrive year in, year out, there is no reason it cannot thrive in the same competitive environment,” he said.
The members of Parliament (MPs) faulted MBC for its programmes, some of which directly attack some political leaders, especially from the opposition, who are never given a chance to be heard.
However, the motion was defeated.
In February this year, MCP reported MBC to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) seeking intervention on alleged biased reporting and programming.
However, Macra, in a letter signed by its director general Godfrey Itaye, dismissed the complaint, asking MCP to lodge its complaint with MBC.
MCP described the Macra response as strange as the institution is mandated to act on media houses that flout provisions of the Communications Act.
Civil society organisations have also accused the taxpayer-funded broadcaster of bias and lack of professionalism.
MBC director general Aubrey Sumbuleta committed to improve coverage perceived to be biased against opposition political parties.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :