MACRA warns broadcasters against inciting violence

Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority-MACRA has cautioned players in broadcasting industry to abide to broadcasting regulations and terms and conditions of their licenses during this campaign period for the July 2nd, 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections.

Speaking in an interview, MACRA Communications manager Clara Ngwira said in view of COVID-19 Pandemic it is more likely that political parties will opt to use electronic and social media as campaign platforms hence the reminder to broadcasting media industry to avoid transmission of subversive information that can incites violence or destabilize the country.

She said MEC broadcasting code of ethics which guides them during elections are clear on the mandate of players in the broadcasting sector and what is expected of them.

On fake news on the social media, Ngwira said MACRA is working in collaboration with Facebook who take down such posts when a complaint is reported to the authority.

“We also encourage victims to report straight to Facebook when aggrieved as well as the police who are there to act on crime. The Electronic Transactions and Cybersecurity Act spells out punishments for offenders which depend on the degree of an offence,” said Ngwira.

“But take note that MACRA’s role is to provide technical support and awareness on dangers of abusing the cyber space otherwise criminal issues are a responsibility of the police,” she added.

In her speech marking the commencement of the official campaign period for the July 2nd, 2020 fresh presidential elections, Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Dr. Jane Ansah SC said the Commission appreciates the important role played by the media during elections and that it is the expectation of everyone that they will continue being neutral players.

Ansah also urged all media houses to ensure that they support the campaign process through their unbiased and balanced coverage.

“They should not be biased for or against any political party and candidate. The Commission wishes to commend some private media houses for the efforts that they are making in educating voters on elections and candidates,” reads part of her speech.

According to Ansah, MBC has promised to provide time slots for messages from all contesting candidates for free.
The campaign period for the Fresh Presidential Elections will run from 2 May 2020 and end on 30 June 2020 at 6am in the morning.

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