Private and commercial broadcaster Zodiak managing director Gospel Kazako was all smiles on Thursday when President Peter Mutharika heaped praise on the youngest media empire.
“Zodiak has shown it is independent (from political pressure), good leadership, ethical and professionalism,” Mutharika said promising him and the government would not interfere with the work at Zodiak and other media organisations.
Mutharika said Zodiak was the first media organisation in the country to declare that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate had won the 2014 presidential elections despite pressure from former president Joyce Banda to annul the results of the poll.
“You saved the country from catastrophe,” said Mutharika.
Kazako on the other hand told the President that it is not the wish of the media to twist government issues nor to under report issues but government officials are not forthcoming with information when asked.
The Zodiak boss cited the issue of the President’s trip to the UN general assembly in September 2015. He said no government official was ready to give information to the media who wanted to find out how many people went with the Head of State to New York leading to speculations.
Mutharika’s face to face with Zodiak’s Kazako comes barely months after presidential press secretary Gerald Viola banned Zodiak reporters from covering functions at Kamuzu Palace after Tereza Ndanga professionally grabbed a microphone from the presidential secretary and asked the President needful questions during a press conference.
Viola had deliberately been selecting less influential pro government media including Galaxy reporters to ask questions.
Months earlier, Mutharika and Viola went severely criticised Zodiak at a press conference for broadcasting stories that State House was chartering presidential jets at a cost of K300million per trip in a feeble economy.
Mutharika said he is a journalist too as he used to correspond with government’s Simbi newsletter in the 1960s.