Malawi’s media giant, Times Group says it will not be stampeded with the attacks from President Peter Mutharika, saying they will remain resolute as watchdog of the public to hold the Head of State and his government accountable to the citizenry.
Times Group, which published the flagship Daily Times and Malawi News as well as having Times Radio and Times TV, was mentioned in an attack by President Mutharika when he addressed a political rally at in Mchinji West where he campaigned for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, Stephano Kamwambi, ahead of the Tuesday by-elections.
Mutharika on Thursday specifically mentioned The Daily Times and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) in his rant, accusing the media houses of reporting about his health.
The President challenged that he is “100 percent fit” unlike the reports in the media houses which portrayed him as being incapacitated or in bad shape.
“Iam 100 percent fit. Stop all those rubbish and stupidity that they have been writing about me,” said Mutharika.
The Malawi leader said he was “disgusted” by the behaviour of some media houses “ that talk garbage and nonsense.”
But on Monday, Times Group Editor-In-Chief George Kasakula responded by standing by its coverage and insititing that they will remain resolute in their watchdog role.
“We cannot change out coverage. There is nothing wrong we have done. We can only improve our coverage,” said Kasakura on Daybreak Malawi program of Capital Radio.
Kasakura said the paper will only improve their coverage to make the President “ more accountable to Malawians.”
Said Kasakura: “ He [President Mutharika] is not being transparent about his health.
He doesn’t have any point. Malawians who were funding his strip in America deserve to know what he was doing [whenMutharika remained in the U.S. after the U.N. General Assembly.] We are only asking our leaders to be transparent and accountable.”
Boniface Dulani, a political scientist at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba during the Daybreak Malawi program condemned the President for fear-mongering against the media.
He said Mutharika’s outbursts has “the potential to creat fear on the part of the media.”
Said Dulani: “ The media is only playing their role in the democrcatic process and holding government accountable.”
He said government should not be immune to criticism.
“In my view the media has just been doing its job. We do need a very critical media, especiall when other areas like public demonstrations [ and civil society] don’t seeme to be effective,” said Dulani.
Dulani said government still need to divulge information on the cost of Mutharika’s prolonged stay in US and “how much it cost government to charter the plane” to take Mutharika to New York and back.
Mutharika’s prolonged absence was shrouded in secrecy, prompting rumors he was hospitalized and perhaps even had died.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :