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Macra rebuffs MCP over MBC

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has thrown away complaint by opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) against biased reporting and programming telling the party to go the broadcaster and not the Authority.

MCP wrote Macra on February 1, 2018 complaining against what it perceives as biased reporting and programming by MBC.

“Reference is made to your letter dated 1st February 2018 in which you have complained to the Authority about Malawi Broadcasting Corporation’s conduct. In the letter you have specifically mentioned programmes such as Sapita Kawiri, Chindunji, Manifesto Yanu and Ndikati Chete which you perceive to be biased against your political party,” reads the letter from Macra dated February 15, 2018 and signed by its director general Godfrey Itaye.

The letter adds: “As a matter of practice, complainants in regard to communication services are advised to lodge their complaints with the communication service provider first before referring the matter to the Authority. This allows for quick redress of the matter and prevents the Authority from being overburdened with matters that can easily be resolved at service provider level. We would therefore urge you to lodge your complaint with MBC as well on the matter.”

Macra further tells MCP that its complaint is “very general” and advises the party to state specific dates and times of the broadcasts that it is complaining about “so that we can focus on those broadcasts”.

The party is further challenged to state the actual content that is bone of contention.

“Further, state the actual content in the programmes that you believe is in conflict with MBC’s obligations under the Communications Act. This will assist us narrow down the issues and assist in quick resolution of the matter.”

Macra also schools MCP on its role.

“The Authority would like to advise that contrary to your assertions, the Authority monitors all broadcasters, including MBC in check. Apart from summoning private broadcasters, the Authority has on several occasions summoned MBC on its broadcasting conditions under the Communications Act and its license,” concludes the latter.

MCP was not available for comment.

The party also brought the same complaint in Parliament on Thursday but the matter attracted no debate from the House even from the party itself.

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