PAC faults MACRA over MBC conduct

Pac meeting

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has faulted Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) for its failure to regulate Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

Speaking with private owned Times Television, Pac chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota said MACRA as a regulatory body must be handling both public and private broadcasters in a uniform way.

Rev. Felix Chingota
Rev. Felix Chingota: MBC has let the nation down.

Chingota gave an example of how MACRA reacted when Rumphi East parliamentarian Kamlepo Kalua went on private owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and made controversial accusations against the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

The PAC chairperson said MBC is left free to parade chiefs who make unfounded accusations against people or institutions that are not given the right of reply.

“I was wondering why MACRA was not regulating MBC. Chiefs were given a platform to attack us but MBC as a broadcaster has never invited us to hear our side. MBC would have allowed us to explain our stand that our aim is to make things better in the country.

“We make sure to include all parties in our discussions by inviting all sectors involved and we make sure to be representative. Freedom of assembly is in our constitution and if Malawians have come together to discuss their country, it is not wrong,” Chingota said.

But Malawi Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu said MBC has editorial policy and broadcasts its programs according to the Communications Act.

“MBC has editorial policy and that policy is directed by Communications Act. As you know that recently the country passed a fresh Communications Act where part of it focuses on how MBC must be performing its duties.” Tembenu said.

“I don’t know the editorial policy of MBC and if such complaints arises, I can just urge every Malawian who is not happy with how MBC is broadcasting its programs to send such queries to MACRA or MBC board to sort out such challenges,” Tembenu said.

He further told Malawians to scrutinize how the taxpayers funded MBC broadcasts its programs under the Communications Act.

“We can make MBC a real public broadcaster and it is not the government agenda to see MBC segregating other Malawians. That is a public radio station and everyone is free to be featured on MBC,” Tembenu said.