The High Court in Blantyre has discharged the interim injunction granted to DPP leader Peter Mutharika restraining MBC and three individuals from discussing the so-called war-mongering remarks.
In her ruling on Friday, Judge Rachel Sikwese said the court was satisfied that the undertaking made by the first defendant—Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)—not to make further publication of the words complained of was enough assurance that the injunction would be unnecessary.
“It would not serve anybody’s interest to maintain an injunction just for the sake of maintaining it with no real threat of damage to the reputation of the plaintiff,” said Sikwese.
Last week, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate obtained an injunction against MBC and political commentators Humphreys Mvula, Sam Mpasu and Blessings Chinsinga stopping them from making further reference to remarks that he purportedly declared war on Tanzania over the Lake Malawi border dispute. Mutharika is alleged to have made the remarks at a political rally. He has repeatedly denied ever threatening Tanzania with war.
But despite the vacation of the injunction, the defamation case in which Mutharika sued MBC, Mvula, Mpasu and Chinsinga will still continue.
Mutharika came under fire for allegedly threatening to wage war against Tanzania. MBC then sought the views of Mvula, Mpasu and Chinsinga to comment on Mutharika’s ‘war cry’. Mutharika argues that those comments were defamatory.
Judge Sikwese also ruled that MBC, when asked, should allow Mutharika to use MBC stations to clarify the statement that he made in relation to the lake dispute.
“The court was convinced that the first defendant [MBC] had no intention of repeating the publication and that it was willing to offer the plaintiff [Mutharika] an opportunity to clarify his statement should the plaintiff seek to exercise that right through the defendant’s stations,” reads the ruling that was pronounced in the chambers on August 16 2013.
In its preliminary arguments MBC, through lawyer Daniel Kalaya, asked the court to delete television and radio from MBC and retain the broadcaster’s name because the two were only news channels not independent entities.
In an interview yesterday, Kalaya explained that the ‘offending’ words were in a newscast that would never be repeated.
The defence team did not object to matters raised by the plaintiff.