Misa Malawi says media ‘still not free’ at 53 years of independence; Cedep condemns Macra for muzzling ‘Hot Current’
There is a feeling that significant changes to guarantee freedom of the press have not yet been put in place, Misa Malawi Chapter chairperson Tereza Ndanga has said.
Ndanga said as Malawi is celebrating this year’s 53rd Independence Day, it should be noted that the media is still facing challenges that impinge in freedom of the press and after freedom after expression.
She said the media can do more to consolidate democracy “especially in the area of investigative reporting” which she observed there us a “serious deficiency” in that area.
Meanwhile, Centre for Development of People (Cedep) has faulted Malawi Communications Regulattory Authority (Macra) for playing double standards following the summoning of Times Television to a meeting to discuss their flagship programme ‘Hot Current’.
Macra is accusing the programme’s marverick hosts Brian Banda and George Kasakula of contravening the professional standards of broadcasting by failing to present different points of view on controversial issues during the edition which was broadcast Friday June 23 2007.
The regulator aaccused ‘Hot Current’ hosts of describing President Peter Mutharika of practising nepotism during the program.
Nyasa Times reported that Macra Director General Godfrey Itaye stated in a latter dated 27 June 2017, that Kasakula, who is one of DPP-led government’s most acerbic critics, did not make “honest expression of opinion” when he heaped blame on the Peter Mutharika administration for the socio-economic woes facing the country.
Macra views the remarks by Kasakula that the incompetence of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led government is so telling that it can be felt, “was not made in good faith.”
The regulator also faults ‘Hot Current’ for accusing DPP administration of nepotism, corruption and arrogant.
It also accuses Times of waging “media war” when it criticised during the ‘Hot Current’ the tax-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), saying it is on the dangerous path.
Kasakula claimed MBC workers are “propping up a regime that has let down Malawians.”
But Cedep accuses Macra of a sinister attempt to continue to muzzle the press, particulary Times Media.
Hot Current program is showing brave and substantive journalistic endeavours (often at great personal risk) and discussing matters of current which are hitting headlines, taking government into task on accountability and corruption.
Kasakula is also attracting wrath of those wielding power recklessly, even criminally, with complete impunity and unaccountability as he is putting them on spot with his no holds barred critique.
The program is also shared on YouTube.
/ Courtesy Nyasa Times
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.