Parliamentary Committee on Media , MBC board, Macra letting down Malawians on MBC

The tax-funded public media institution MBC has reached a point where it has lost direction in its quest for propaganda machine for DPP. It was a huge embarrassment for the DPP party and its government when Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu was forced to apologise to Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusaon behalf of MBC and government for using him for political propaganda during the 5+1 All-Inclusive. All-inclusive 5 plus conference.

Admittedly, MBC is a hopeless media institution. I am not sure whether those who work there have any pride or are concerned about their reputation or just working to earn a living.

Malawians should not expect much for MBC to change on its own. It is a known fact that MBC CEO and his entire management crew are puppets controlled by DPP top brass who give them orders what to do. All these gullible chiefs are organised by the DPP machinery to cast aspersion on the opposition or government critics.

Forget about the public pronouncements by people like Nicholas Dausi who say DPP does not interfere in the editorial policy. That is politics. The truth is MBC is controlled by the ruling elite.

Oversight institutions are partly to blame for this. One wonders what the MBC board does. It should have been the first institution to ensure that MBC operates professionally by adhering to the constitution and the Communication Act. The board has failed to provide leadership to MBC management to the benefit of all Malawians. Let it justify its existence. Otherwise members should just resign because as things are it is just as good as having not board at all. It is irrelevant. They are eating siting allowances for nothing.

We know boards are appointed by the president. By implication they are dominated by ruling party cadres and sympathisers. But they should workfor the benefit of the nation. MBC board needs to jack up. As of now, it the worst performing board in the country.

Parliamentary Committee on Media and Communications is equally disappointing. Like the MBC board, one wonders what this committee does. It is the weakest committee in parliament. It is not providing an oversight role to MBC like what other parliamentary committees are doing to institutions that fall under them.

For example, the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture led by DrChidantiMalungasummoned several institutions (including MRAand Ministry of Agriculture) and individuals (Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda and Admarc CEO Foster Mlumbe) during the investigation of irregularpurchase of maize from Zambia to ascertain the truth.

If the committee knows what it is doing, it should have summoned Minister of Information Dausi and MBC management and demanded an explanation why the public broadcaster continues to be used for DPP propaganda and demanded change.  It might be argued that the response is obvious, but the bottom line is that the committee is not doing its work. MPs do a lot of work in committees. This is where they are supposed to be active. They try to rectify or change things and bring to the attention of government about issues that need to be attended to.

Macra is good at picking on commercial and community radio stations. But they fear to take to task MBC for failing to observe the Third Schedule of the Communication Act. All this points to lack of integrity and negligence of duty by those who man these institutions.

Things have gone out of hand and this should not be allowed to continue. Something should be done.

Malawians should not bank on DPP to change MBC because it serves their purpose. MISA, opposition parties, NGOs and interest groups should mount a sustained campaign for MBC to open the air waves. This is important as we approach the 2019 tripartite general elections.

Bishop Msusa issued a powerful statement that “one day the power of the gun shall not be feared and the power of the muscle will speak louder than that of a gun” Did MBC and DPP get his message?

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