Public broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has indefinitely suspended its director of news Vincent Khonyongwa and controller of news Greyson Chapita over gross negligence for airing obscene content to disparage the country’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima.
MBC spokesperson Felister Chifumbi has confirmed the suspensions following a disciplinary process.
The taxpayer-funded broadcaster aired the offensive content in its 7pm Chichewa television news bulletin on May 11 2020.
In the report in question, MBC used a screenshot from its Facebook page and displayed comments on television purportedly to demonstrate that the public was against Chilima, who is now UTM Party president and fell out with former president Peter Mutharika and the former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in June 2018.
Some of the comments from the broadcaster’s purported social media page contained swear words.
The report was apparently the broadcaster’s reaction to Chilima’s sentiments made at a rally on Sunday in Mzuzu where UTM Party and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) held under the Tonse Alliance. During the rally, the Vice-President alleged that former president Bakili Muluzi, whose son has partnered DPP, threatened him through his associates.
Khonyongwa said the MBC board has suspended him for “gross negligence”.
While Chapita said the matter was already dealt with before when some people were suspended and he was cleared of any wrongdoing, expressing surprise that the new board has resuscitate the issue.
Following the broadcast of the swear words, Jolly Ntaba, head of Journalism and Media Studies Department at the Polytechnic—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said MBC failed in its duty as a public broadcaster.