Condemning MACRA for Summoning Zodiak Broadcasting Station and Interfering with Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression
20th April 2018
We, Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF), have learnt with ineffable disdain for the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) the ongoing unprofessional conduct and selective justice being demonstrated by this body in summoning Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and interfering with press freedom. We seriously condemn this sick conduct as it does not even speak to the spirit of the Malawi Communications Act which establishes this unprincipled institution.
There is completely nothing wrong with Zodiak airing our patriotic messages for the coming April 27 Nationwide Demonstrations. As citizens, we are entitled to hold duty bearers accountable and to freely demonstrate as we exercise our right to freedoms of expression, assembly and association. It pains that MACRA takes no action against the taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) which airs uncountable hate messages and programmes against opposition political parties and any dissenting views despite that it’s a public broadcaster and not owned by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
We are aware that MACRA is indeed hell-bent to frustrate any of our efforts as organisers of the coming April 27 Nationwide Demonstrations. Again, we are aware that it’s the government which is behind all this unjustifiable conduct. But we want to inform you that as HRDF we will not relent and that come what may we will successfully hold our peaceful demonstrations slated for the coming April 27 because this is our right and for the good of Malawians.
As we have said before, MACRA is never independent as it would want Malawians to believe. This institution has totally been reduced to a mere folk of the ruling DPP full of nothing but unprofessionalism, biasness, incredibility and insensitivity with no heart for the whining 17 million Malawians. These are the reasons among many as to why Malawians must come to this anti-corruption and vote of no confidence peaceful demonstration.
Let us also take this opportunity to warn the DPP-led government that Malawians and the whole world are watching. Malawians are never foolish. They are tired of being led by corrupt, irresponsive and suppressive leaders. And Malawians know that April 27 is their day. It’s their day to demonstrate against all the ills being inflicted upon them by uncaring leaders whom they entrusted with power to govern. And Malawians can never afford to be robbed of this opportunity slated for April 27.
Timothy Mtambo Gift Trapence Charles Kajoloweka
Chairperson HRDF Vice-Chairperson HRDF YAS Executive Director
Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF)
Northern Region Human Rights Defenders Forum (NRHRDF)
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR)
Centre for Development of People (Cedep)
Youth and Society (YAS)
Citizens Forum for the Defense of Good Governance
Civil Society Network Transparency and Accountability
Child Rights Information and Documentation (CRIDOC)
Knowledge of the Laws of the Land (KNOLL)
Outreach Scout Foundation (OSF)
Phunzirani Development Organisation
Walita of RRA
Patrick Mwale of COIDA
Trevor Nyasulu of FARO
Ndagha Sikanda HRD
Gibson Chisale of PACE
Rumphi Residents Association
Happy Mhango - Northern Region Human Rights Defenders Forum Chair (HRDF)
Kinnear Mlowoka - Human Rights Defender
Rev. Macdonald Sembereka – Human Rights Activist
Thokozani Mapemba - Human Rights Defender
Makhumbo Mkanavimbundi Munthali - Concerned Citizen