Saturday, April 5, 2014
Meeting with MBC Board on campaign broadcasting
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) met with the board of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on Friday April 4, 2014 at the Commission’s head office in Blantyre.
The meeting was held to discuss various concerns and published reports of unfair coverage of contesting political parties in the 20 May 2014 elections.
It was observed that MBC has been giving prominence to the ruling party while at the same time marginalizing the opposition political parties.
During the meeting, both parties observed and accepted that the performance of the public broadcaster in ensuring equitable coverage has not been up to standard in many aspects.
It was agreed by both parties that MBC has not complied with the provisions of its broadcasting licence, the Communications Act and the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act of ensuring equitable access to the political parties.
The Commission unreservedly condemned the unprofessional conduct of MBC over the two weeks of the campaign and demanded radical changes that would lead to equitable coverage of all contesting political parties.
In response the board committed to undertake IMMEDIATE changes and reforms which shall include but not limited to:
.Giving a right to reply on all stories and campaign messages broadcast on radio and television.
. Stop rebroadcasting presidential rallies where the President was campaigning.
.Give equal airtime for political parties to campaign where the State President has been covered live campaigning.
The MBC board assured the Commission of immediate structural changes in its coverage of political parties and challenged MEC, political parties, civil society organisations, electoral stakeholders and the public to observe its performance for seven days effective Friday, April 4, 2014.
The Commission is, therefore, urging everyone who may have a complaint against MBC in the period up to Friday, April 18, 2014 to immediately lodge it with the Commission through the following address:
The Chief Elections Officer,
Malawi Electoral Commission,
Private Bag 113,
The Commission will also agree with the board on other areas of reform which shall be communicated to the public soon.
Signed this 4th day of April, 2014 at Blantyre.
Chief Elections Officer