ministerof Information Gospel Kazako has expressed disappointment with the way taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) is operating.
Speaking in Blantyre yesterday when he met MBC management, the minister recalled that when he was appointed in July he met authorities at MBC and was assured of change but noted that it was nowhere to be seen.
Kazako said Malawians want a public broadcaster that is able to accommodate everyone irrespective of their political background and still be able to serve the government.
He called on the staff to be ethical, creative, innovative, accommodative , professional and avoid wearing political party colours.
Said Kazako: “The Tonse Alliance government has learnt a lot from the past. We don’t want MBC to continue to be used as a propaganda tool.”
The minister said there was need to change faces at MBC and bring in new programmes in line with the modern needs. But he said this should not instil fear in others that change will cost them jobs.
“Human resource audit and structural review will help to bring the credibility of MBC back, make it financially independent and motivate those who are capable,” said Kazako.
MBC acting director general Aidan Gumeni highlighted financial
hardships and lack of staff hardships and lack of staff development as some of the challenges hindering change in their operation.
He said MBC is owed a lot of money by a number of public institutions as most of them do not pay for services they get from the broadcaster.
“The minister has challenged us to be professional and do things according to the expectation of the public. On the operational challenges, the minister has challenged us to monitor our revenue and put controls on our expenditures,” said Gumeni.
During the meeting, MBC staff asked the minister to initiate t h e r e v i e w o f t h e Communications Act to get rid of some clauses such as appointment of the director general, saying it attaches MBC to politics.
Another issue raised during the meeting was the need for Malawi C ommu n i c a t i o n s Regulatory Authority (Macra) to monitor MBC and apply the same treatment to private media institutions when they digress from core values.
The staff also urged Kazako to share with his fellow ministers and some government officials the philosophy of freeing MBC, to which the minister encouraged MBC staff to report to him any government official ordering them on how to do their job.
Immediatel y aft e r being appointed minister, Kazako promised to sanitise MBC