The chairperson of the Parliamentary Media and Communications Committee and a member of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Sam Kawale has said the tax-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) continue to be an instrument of castigation of the opposition without giving the opposition the right of reply.
“MBC professionalism has gone to the dogs in terms of media ethics,”Kawale said on Daybreak Malawi programme on Capital FM on Tuesday.
Kawale said the lack of editorial independence and opening up of MBC airwaves is against the spirit of Communications Act and the Constitution.
The Communications Act clearly spells out under Section 87 of the public mandate of MBC to operate without any bias or serve any political interests.
He also said MBC ignores the Constitution which categorically states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression and that the media has the right to publish freely which entails MBC to be neutral and serve public interests regardless of people’s political views
Kawale said MBC is falling short of this mandate and accused government of using traditional leaders to attack critics and opposition on MBC.
“People are realising that what they are doing is wrong,” he said.
But Minister of Information, Communication and ICT, Nicholous Dausi defended MBC, saying it is operating within its mandate.
“ In a democracy we move by constitutionality and constitutionalism, MBC is following its acts of parliament,” Dausi said.
“Malawians must sit down and say how best we should approach the issue of MBC,” he added.
However, Kawale said government should not be contented in using MBC for propaganda.
“The media is not MBC only. We have the social media. If they think they can still mislead people, they are lying themselves. Everything will start backfiring,” said Kawale.
He said public institutions such as MBC run on tax-payers’ money are supposed to serve everyone.
Kawale argued that public function role is very clear in Sections 86, 87 and 88 of the Communications Act.
He said monopoly of MBC by ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) implies that they do not respect the law.
Observers say MBC itself suffers from a crisis of professional standards as s successive MBC management teams, especially CEOs, have failed to provide effective leadership to guide the employees on how to behave professionally.
They CEOs have allowed propaganda programmes n to be aired to please those in power when there are far many important national issues that deserve airtime.
MBC stories are told without balance and objectivity in favour of government.
The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) shares much of the blame for the unprofessional conduct of MBC because it has failed to stamp its authority over MBC to be professional.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :