Minister tells Malawi broadcasters to improve on content

Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango has  advised broadcasters in the country to improve on the content aired on their various stations.

Jappie Mhango: Improve
Jappie Mhango: Improve

Mhango observed that there was so much that could be done to produce programmes that meet international standards and not just focusing on politics.

He said programming should be celebrating the country’s diverse cultural heritage because there seems to be a professional and moral crisis among media practitioners that has resulted in violation of media ethics.

Mhango was speaking at the opening of a capacity building workshop for broadcasters organized by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) with technical support from Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) last Friday.

“The greatest challenge that faces us today is on the development of content to be featured on our television stations, we appreciate that broadcasting stations are striving to produce content that meet the needs of the audiences but we are not quite encouraged with the quality that we see,” he said.

He added: “Quite often, we are seeing the broadcasting of material that is based on rumors and assassination of other people’s characters, such ethical and moral deviations spit in the face of those who championed for media freedom and waste the valuable chance for the Malawian media to achieve the professional growth.”

Macra’s Deputy Director General Francis Bisika said the regulator places a lot of value in building the capacity of broadcasters in the country by making sure that broadcasters have the right capacity to air programmes that help change the lives of their listeners and viewers whether in education, agriculture, health and the economy.

“We are however mindful that Malawians need to be protected from content that is quite harmful to their personal livelihood, culture, health and socio-economic status. This is why as a regulator we have a fully-fledged broadcasting monitoring unit that monitors content on your broadcasting stations to assess whether it is in sync with your license conditions,” he explained.

Bisika said Macra was concerned that more broadcasters have slackened in their drive to promote local content on their broadcasting stations.

“We listen to content that is predominantly foreign when we have a million stories from our rural communities waiting to be told, with the advent of digital migration the ball is in our court to produce more local content aimed at filling the seemingly long hours of empty time slots on our local broadcasting stations,” he said.

Media practitioners from Zodiak, MIJ, MBC TV and Radio, Transworld Radio, Channel for all Nations Radio, Joy TV  were among the list of participants at the two-day workshop.–Mana

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