MISA Malawi has told Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to reverse its suspension of phone-in programmes saying the ban is a serious violation of media freedom and freedom of expression.
The regulatory body banned the phone-in programmes on Friday claiming some broadcasters were unethical and careless on issues concerning the disputed May 21 elections hence would likely fuel violence across the country.
But in a statement released Friday night and signed by Chairperson Teresa Ndanga, MISA Malawi said MACRA’s decision is unwarranted and a serious violation of media freedom and freedom of expression, which the supreme law of the country, the Malawi Constitution, fully recognises.
The media body advised the regulator to avoid using its regulatory mandate to stifle Malawians’ right to know and freedom of expression.
MISA Malawi expressed concern that the regulator decided to punish all broadcasters instead of dealing with the few radio stations found involved in careless and unethical coverage of post-election events.
“Thus MISA Malawi calls on MACRA to immediately reverse its suspension of phone-in programmes. As has been the case, we expect MACRA to discipline the few who may have breached their broadcasting licences.
“We however expect that that process will follow all the due procedures where, among others, the media houses are also given the right to be heard,” the media body said in its statement.
It also called upon broadcasters to remain professional and ethical in their duties and respect the demands of their broadcasting licences.