HRDC, YAS and Livingstonia Synod want MBC temporarily closed

The Livingstonia Synod and two civil society organizations have demanded the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to suspend the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation’s license by Friday this week.

The organisations – Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and Youth and Society (YAS) – together with the Synod have made the demand after the state broadcaster used vulgar words against State Vice President Saulos Chilima.

In its news broadcast on Monday, MBC displayed screenshots of comments by Facebook users who used swear words against Chilima.

According to a letter dated 12 May and signed by lawyer for the three organisations George Kadzipatike, the profanities used by MBC have shocked the three organisations.

“MBC is perpetually in breach of its public service obligations under the Communications Act and the broadcaster has clearly shown the whole world that it has not respect for human rights, rule of law and the Constitution, as required of it under Section 109 of the Communication Act.

“MBC is denying our clients and the nation at large their right to credible information and it is leading the nation astray, yet MACRA does not appear to take any efforts to enforce the Communications Act against MBC,” reads part of the letter.

The three organization have since demanded the regulatory body to suspend provision of broadcasting services by MBC until such a time that the “unprofessional” members of staff are replaced by competent and professional individuals.

HRDC, YAS and the Synod have said MACRA should act by Friday this week or else the organization will be forced to apply for an order at the High Court compelling the regulatory body to close the public broadcaster.

Meanwhile, the Media Institute of Southern Africa – Malawi chapter has condemned the use of the swearwords by the public broadcaster describing them as immoral and an attack on professional journalism.

MBC apologized for its conduct on Monday night saying the screenshot was erroneously used.

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