MISA Malawi is calling for an immediate reversal of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority(MACRA) decision to suspend phone-in programmes.
In its public announcement titled ‘The conduct of broadcasters on coverage of post elections events’ dated June 7,2019, MACRA says it has suspended all phone-in programmes with immediate effect until further notice.
MISA Malawi finds MACRA’s decision unwarranted and a very serious violation of media freedom and freedom of expression, which the supreme law of the country, the Malawi Constitution, fully recognises.
In its announcement, MACRA alleges that there are ‘some broadcasters’ who are indulging themselves in careless and unethical coverage of post-election events.
It is surprising and worrying that the regulator has decided to unlawfully punish all broadcasters, their listeners and the general public with an unjustified suspension of all phone-in programmes.
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.
MACRA should not use its regulatory mandate to stifle Malawians’ right to know and freedom of expression.
MISA would also like to call upon all broadcasters to remain professional and ethical in their duties and respect the demands of their broadcasting licences