The terrain of Malawi mainstream media and, also, that of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) isn’t looking pretty.
We have entered a disturbing chapter in our democracy as far holding governments to account is anything to go by.
There is no denying here: Most key media houses and vibrant CSOs have been strategically folded in government armpits and this, unarguably, should worry all of us.
Brian Banda was a great voice in asking right and provoking questions to duty-bearers. He is at State House now where he will be defending the duty-bearer number 1: President Lazarus Chakwera.
His former boss George Kasakula, another powerful voice both on television and print in defense of democracy, is rumored to be joining State-controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
Times Group—which runs Times TV, Times Radio, Malawi News, Daily Times, Sunday Times and Times Online—is, principally, controlled by the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as it is owned by Kamuzu’s family, most of them are in the cabinet.
Renowned broadcaster and powerful voice in defense of democracy, Gospel Kazako, is now in charge of defending government. Though he promised that his Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) will be neutral but we know they can’t for obvious reasons.
We can waste a sentence on MBC. Forget the rhetoric; that station will never be a voice in defense of democracy. It will always be a tool for defending those in power.
The situation isn’t different from CSOs. Malawi’s powerful voices in CSOs are those running the Human Rights Defenders Coalitions (HRDC).
We know HRDC founding leader, the fierce voice, Timothy Mtambo is now a Minister in Chakwera government.
If you have noted the trend with HRDC as I write, they have never taken a stand against several issues that Malawians have complained against the Chakwera. The least they tried was when they met the President over concerns on the Cabinet—something HRDC said they have given the President time.
Instead HRDC continues to be vocal, though concentrating on the excess of the former DPP regime.
Put it simply, the main media houses and major CSOs voices appear to have been muted through the president’s strategic moved to have most of them with him.
This, arguably, calls for more voices to emerge. Currently, Malawians will keep their eyes on Nation Publications Limited (NPL), Rainbow TV and some emerging CSOs such as CDEDI, Malawi Watch for critical voices.
Otherwise we have entered a disturbing chapter where key voice in defense of democracy have been strategically captured—something, as a nation, we need to rethink and find a better way to handle it.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :