Macra summons MBC over ‘terrorist’ remarks

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has summoned Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) for hearing over a broadcast which referred to Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) as “gulu la za uchifwamba (terrorist group)”.

In a letter addressed to MBC Director General dated 20th January 2020 and signed by MACRA Director General Godfrey Itaye, the regulatory body bemoans what it calls dwindling standards at the taxpayers – funded broadcaster.

Macra Head Office

Another incident highlighted in the letter, which we have seen, is a broadcast where a guest in a program, in reference to alleged rape cases in Msundwe, decribed rape as something that is done with consent from the victim.

“MACRA, through its monitoring system, has observed with concern the dwindling standards of your broadcasts within the past days. To substantiate the point above, we are in possession of a recording which was extracted from the news bulletin broadcast on 16th January 2020 in which your news reader reffered to the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) as gulu la za uchifwamba (terrorist group)”. 

Malawi Broadcasting Corporation offices in Blantyre

MACRA says these statements were abusive and insulting as well as likely to affect public order and tranquility contrary to the communications act. 

In a telephone interview, Itaye confirmed summoning MBC but said their action is based on their records and not public pressure or complaint from HRDC. 

The hearing is scheduled for 09:00 hours on Tuesday – January 28, 2020.

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