⁠Phalombe District Council bans Journalists

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Phalombe district council through the directive of its District Commissioner Harry Phiri has banned all private media practitioners based in the district from attending any government function, Malawi24 has learnt.

Phiri’s decision comes barely weeks after the press men refused to obey his plea to drop stories that revealed a bribe which his District Council gave to Auditors from the National Audit Office (NAO) who were in the district to audit the council in past weeks.

Harry Phiri

Harry Phiri: Bans Journalists.

In a story which Malawi24 published on 30th August this year, it was indicated that the DC demanded some government sectors to contribute around MK2 Million which was later given to the auditors as additional allowances for their work.

This move did not please many workers at the Council who questioned the motive for giving the Auditors additional money when they were already provided with allowances from the National Audit Office.

A day before publication of the stories relating to the matter, Phiri convened a lengthy meeting in his office, where he passionately pleaded with the Journalists to have mercy for him.

Among other things the D.C promised a good relationship in which the Media would be involved in supervision of government projects from time to time as a way of ensuring that the two sides were in good terms, however the Pressmen did their work.

Two weeks after the occasion, the Commissioner through the District Information Office communicated the ban whose reason he did not clearly explain.

Reacting to the matter, Chairperson for the Malawian chapter of the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Teresa Ndanga said it is unfortunate that the high officer was taking lead in blocking the Media from accessing and publishing information about how taxpayers’ money is being used.

It is sad that a public officer who is supposed to be accountable to the general public especially on the use of taxpayers money is now actually blocking the smooth flow of information, wrote Ndanga in response to a questionnaire.

Ndanga went on to call on the DC and the council to rescind its decision considering that section 36 of the Malawi Constitution states clearly that the press shall have the right to report and publish freely, within Malawi and abroad, and to be accorded the fullest possible facilities for access to public information.

Misa Malawi

Ndanga: Condemns the act.

“Section 37 goes further to provide for access to information. Now which part of these provisions is not clear? I would like to call upon the council to come out and explain on what legal basis this decision was made.

“If the published stories were false or a misrepresentation of facts, there are other means which could be used to seek remedy. We have the Media Council of Malawi and MISA Malawi. I need to make it clear that that decision was an infringement of media rights and call upon the council to rescind its decision to bar the media,” added Ndanga.

She went on to indicate that due to presence of Journalists in all the districts in the country it has encouraged transparency and accountability and Phalombe district council’s decision is uncalled for and not proper in the current set up of Media work.

“The councils decision therefore does not only hurt the media, it also hurts the citizens who expect a good service is various sectors and eventually, national development will also suffer as public money may not be used for the intended purpose.

“The council should also realize that the media is a critical sector in the national development cycle. In gagging the media, the council is therefore becoming an impediment to the very work it has to champion,” concluded the MISA Chairperson.

The banned Media houses include Malawi24, Zodiak Broadcasting Station, MIJ Radio and Mzati FM.⁠⁠⁠

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86 Comments

  1. Arrogant DC with doutful qualifications if any,how can somebody who is familiar with our Constitution issue a such an order? But as far as Media freedom is concerned such an order is invalid by the Constitution of this land.

    • The Council has no powers to bar the media to monitor its functions. Both the public and private media have the freedom to follow the money

  2. If u see astory click the link to read more than wasting ur stupid airtime for nothing.

    These journalists are the ones behind the fears pple hv inthe area.. Hw can alearned Journalist send astory to his station about blood suckers being gvt data collectors,,,,

    Those of u,who doesnt understand hw councils operate shutup!, District commissioner is the overall incharge of the whole District and he has the power to consult or not from top authoriry thus Decentralisation. Now for someone to mix this with DPP or mbc, it just show that mamina achoka mmphuno ali pa kamwa mukunyambitira kukoma mchere

  3. Akufuna kubisa chani amenewa? Mwinanso direction yachoka kwa anduna. Pajatu nduna zayamba kugwilitsa ntchito mphamvu molakwika. Kulamula kuti anthu amangidwe ngati ku omangawo sakuona

  4. These private media are so bias cause they only broadcast bad news of Malawi so Phalombe is 100% correct and Chikwawa Shall be the next

  5. There is nothing wrong to bann these private media.They are also the ones who are slowing down the development of Malawi since they only broadcast bad news of Malawi and not good ones so this discourages people from outside from bringing development to Malawi.

  6. What?
    Banning private media for what? And honestly we blame Kamuzu for the 31 years of dictatorshio, really?

    We are Malawi, and respect our constitution. This ban is of no effect whatsover

  7. You will need the media when time ripes. If you are fighting with the media, you are fighting your own ruin. Even DPP will disassociate itself from such behaviour because you are a shame to Malawi/ Constitution. Please report this to the Minister of Information. It will be solved, if he refuses also tell the nation that he is associated to the malpractice. We depend on you to tell the untold.

  8. Kkkkkkk some government officials we have do behave in a strange manner. What are they trying to hide from the public? Do they really know why now Malawi through the parliament has adopted the Access To Information bill? Mind you, you’re just the mere servants of us and kumeneko munangobwererako ntchito……!!!!!!

  9. Koma ndiye kodi iyi nde democracy imene abweretsa Apm ku Thyolo kagwere uko ndale zotani zimenezo .Atolankhani ndi nyale ya dziko ife tinachoka kale ku ndale zomafund bulangete pilizii.
    Vuto ndi katangale wanu ndi madilu a 2019.Thi time never no rigging eyes wide open no computer hiking.

  10. Ndi nthawi yanu Mr Harry Phiri
    MBC radio and TV ndi zimene zizikupopani inu aboma. Simunalakwise kutero, paja amakupasan thengenyenge

  11. Does this district have their own constitution or we use the same constitution. Everyone has a right to know any government issues. Opposition or ruling. If so then we don’t have freedom of expression. No freedom of movement. Is Phalombe a no go zone to every citizens. This is unacceptable. If the private media report false news then they must sue them. We have courts in our country. The more they want to hide is the more we want to know. What are they hiding. DPP is running out of time.

    • This is not a DPP issue, its ‘them’ after abusing públic funds they have been trying to cover it and this is one way of hiding the truth. Sometimes leave out polítics and see things with a neutral eye.

    • I understand but my point is they belong to DPP. Trust me if it was other parties the police will be all over trying to find out what are they hiding. ACB and Police only investigate certain people. Thats why this DPP don’t like private media. We mention DPP because these are DPP people

  12. There is Fire where they is smoke and I hate private medias too.They always express lies and urged ruling part I am 100% sure that Private Medians are for oppositions parties

    • @Phiri you’re one of cadet too,thus why more Malawians gets poor because of those minds,people doesn’t appreciate what government doing instead gossiping it into some social Medias/private media’s is what you call freedom and Democracy? you will die poor if u’still doing that shit. Yes off course I am talking to you @Phiri you Av right to express what you have but learn to appreciate where is needed to appreciate.

    • Hold it there Thomas. I have a right to know my government because I am a citizen,tax payer and I am the one who vote them in power. So my rights must not restricted or abused in any way. Social media is a digital platform that save papers and resources. So don’t blame social media. Your government arrested a guy who was posted on BBC news social media about fisi that’s when your DPP acted otherwise it was going to carry on. Freedom of speech is to speak my views and what I have seen without without false or violating someone’s report rights. So if you feel that the media is violating DPP rights then go to court and sue them. We will be happy to hear both sides of story. But being coward and restraining people on public platform is umbuzi. Let them come and allow them to report news without fear, favour or censured news. If you want to do private government then step down and open way for fresh young blood who are willing to cooperate with every citizens

    • Thomas, Malawi is a democratic country with freedom of expression enshrined in our constitution. We wants checks and balances and transparency and Accountability of public resources. Its not about partisan politics. Its about Malawi. No one person or district is bigger than our country. Do not take us to the dark days of dictatorship. Takana

  13. So these cowards with the walking devil dpp are many? Your time is fast approaching your extinction, you will all be wishing to hide but there will be no where to hide

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