MACRA boss Godfrey Itaye fired

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—There has been a shake-up at Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) and Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) after government on Thursday redeployed Macra director general Godfrey Itaye back to MPC.

On the other hand, MPC postmaster general Henry Sham is now heading to Macra as director general.

The firing of Itaye comes barely days after the Malawi Human Right Commission accused MACRA of treating the state broadcaster—Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) – with  kid gloves for airing obscene and disparaging content to vice president Saulos Chilima last week and their continued gutter journalism.

MHRC chairperson Reverend Patrick Semphere said this after a closed door meeting between commission and officials from the Ministry of Information which took place in Lilongwe.

Semphere wondered why it was taking time for Macra to act on MBC TV’s recent unprofessional conduct in which the station used swearwords towards Chilima in its 7 pm Chichewa Bulletin of Monday, May 11, 2020.

Ironically, MACRA issued a statement on Wednesday condemning private broadcasters: Times, Zodiak and Mibawa for broadcasting indecent, insulting and offensive material during campaign rallies of the opposition parties.

In a statement today, Itaye said the offensive material was broadcast on Mibawa Television, Zodiak Radio, Zodiak TV and Times Television during rallies.

“Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has noted with serious concern the broadcasting of indecent, insulting, and offensive material by broadcasters during the current political campaign meetings,” said Itaye,

He added that the assessment of the political broadcasts by MACRA indicated that the broadcasts breached Section 22 of the Second Schedule to the Communications Act, 2016.

According to Itaye, the regulatory authority has reported the broadcasters to the Broadcasting Monitoring and Complaints Committee (BMMC) for further action in line with rule 54 of the Broadcasting Regulation for 2019.

Itaye then warned that MACRA is monitoring broadcasters during the election period and will invoke its regulatory action against any broadcaster in breach of relevant laws.

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