Lilongwe, 17 January, 2020
MBC SHOULD TREAD CAREFULLY, STOP INCITING HATE SPEECH
Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has learnt with shock the unprofessional and unethical conduct displayed by the supposedly national broadcaster, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) in their evening news bulletin on Thursday January 16, 2020 where they referred to the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) as a terrorist group. We find such conduct to be very unprofessional and worth being reprimanded by the country’s media bodies such as the National Media Institute of Southern Africa (NAMISA) as well as the communications regulatory body, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA).
CDEDI is made to believe that the MBC is deliberately giving a blind eye on its mission of serving the interest of Malawians, and is bent on serving some political powers, since the broadcaster has on countless times referred to the HRDC leadership and indeed some opposition political party leaders as confusionists. despite numerous appeals to MBC to consider opening up the station to both the ruling and the opposition parties, the broadcaster is openly showing it’s biases towards the ruling Democratic Progressive Party DPP and the country’s president, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika.
CDEDI finds MBC’s conduct as a deliberate ploy to instigate anger and hatred towards the members of the HRDC. The overzealousness that is being displayed by the MBC has very high potential to disturb the country’s peace and unity. This is very unfortunate considering the fact that MBC is being run with tax payers’ money, hence the need for the broadcaster to set standards in adherence to media ethics and professionalism.
At this juncture, CDEDI would like to remind MBC Director General (DG) Mr. Aubrey Sumbuleta the following; MBC belongs to the people of Malawi and not to a particular section or a club of politicians; Politicians should refrain from interfering with MBC, whose mission is to serve national interest; Employees at MBC, including its Director General should strive to champion professionalism and refrain from toeing political party lines since there will still be life even after they leave MBC.
CDEDI therefore is demanding that Mr. Sumbuleta should take the responsibility of the shameful act and should make a public apology to the HRDC leadership and membership in particular, and to Malawians in general. We are also demanding that the MBC Director General should investigate and slap the team that was involved in this unprofessional conduct of producing and airing the said news item with disciplinary action.
Meanwhile, CDEDI is appealing to all media houses and practitioners in the country to always stick to ethical standards that ensure accuracy, fairness and balance in all their undertakings to avoid plunging the current volatile situation into chaos.
We would also like to remind individual journalists in the country that just like there is no story worth dying for, there is no politician worth dying for therefore they should always refuse to be used and abused.
CDEDI will not tolerate any careless and insensitive remarks or insinuations be it from a politician or media practitioner now that the country awaits for the landmark ruling on the presidential elections case of the May 21, 2019.
Lastly, but not the least Malawians and indeed the general public ought to be reminded that when all is said and done, they should remember that there will come a time when everyone shall be held accountable for their role in the current political impasse we are experiencing.
CDEDI is a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established with a goal to have a well-informed and organized citizenry that can ably demand their social and economic rights at the same time hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.
Among many others CDEDI aims at sensitizing the masses on matters of national importance, inculcate the spirit of a peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic, political and religious affiliations; provide civic education on people’s rights and responsibilities in economic independence and contribution towards national development and lobbying for the electoral law reforms.
INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR