Media Committee of Parliament chairperson Sam Kawale has said President Peter Mutharika’s has said remarks that the media is “part if the corrupt system” are damaging and the Head of State need to prove his claims.
Mutharika said the media had become part of the problem Malawi is facing and part of the corrupt system.
The President, who has said his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration was committed to ending the high levels of corruption in the country, having increased budget allocation for the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the 2017/18 fiscal year, said he knows that corruption cuts across all sectors of the Malawian society including the media.
But Kawale said President Mutharika is deliberataley targeting the media to discredict the journalism profession.
“It is sad for the Head of State to make such remarks,” said Kawale.
“He knows that the media, especially private institutions, work professionally in the country. But he chooses to look at such media houses as trash. He sponsors Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), which in my opinion and without fear or favour, is the most biased media house [in Malawi]. How should people trust his sentiments?
“The next time, sentiments made on the [political] podium should be censored. This is hypocrisy at the highest level. We do not want such remarks [to come] from the Head of State,” Kawale said.
A University of Malawi media communication expert based at Chancellor College in Zomba, Jimmy Kainja, said it is imperative for President Mutharika “to bring up evidence” of his claims.
Kainja said ‘corrupt’ media allegations are “damaging.”
“In fact, whoever can speak such sentiments needs to produce evidence. Journalists should be told when and where they were bribed to write stories. Reporters have never said the President is corrupted without evidence. The President cannot just say that out of the blues because nobody will ask him. Maybe it was out of frustration,” Kainja said.
But State House director of communications Bright Molande said the President was stating facts that media is part of the corrupt system.
“Nobody must not be in denial if the fight against corruption is to be won,” he said.
“Can the Parliamentary Committee on Media and Communications and the Misa-Malawi ask for evidence from the Speaker and come back to us, because he was the first to say that. Nobody must be in denial if we are to fight corruption successfully in the country,” Molande said.
The social media has also not be spared by President Mutharika who is on record claiming that the communication medium was the cause of “social decay” in Malawi.
Mutharika claimed that social media platforms had long been utilised to disseminate lies and castigate others.
In addition, the Malawian leader urged the church to help government in its fight against the abuse of social media, saying that abuse of the medium would lead to the degeneration of values and morals within the country.
Media experts say the ownership of media outlets – whether state-run, privately owned, or public service broadcasters – is a crucial factor for the independence and integrity of the media.
Where media companies are formally owned by the state, the government may exercise a strong influence, censoring stories, stifling investigations into high profile cases and generally compromising the neutrality of reporting.
Privately owned media companies carry equally significant challenges as they can become beholden to certain public figures, individuals or corporate interests, who use them to promote a certain image of themselves, their opponents, or a certain issue or product.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :