Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) on Wednesday met Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) where it defended itself over remarks Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament vice-chairperson Kamlepo Kalua made during an interview with the radio on Sunday.
Speaking in a telephone interview after the meeting, ZBS director of news and current affairs Teresa Ndanga said the broadcaster gave its side of the story and is now waiting to hear from Macra on the way forward.
“We went to the meeting this morning and we were provided a platform to give our side of the story. So, we gave our side of the story and they [Macra] said we will hear from them. Basically, I think they will review the case and what the way forward will be,” said Ndanga.
However, when contacted on what transpired at the meeting, Macra spokesperson Clara Mwafulirwa said she was not at liberty to discuss the issues with the media until the authority’s board determines the way forward.
She also refused to provide details as to who represented Macra during the meeting. But The Nation gathered that Macra was represented by six individuals, including director-general Godfrey Itaye, deputy director of broadcasting Kelton Masangano and broadcasting monitoring officer Willie Soko.
Ndanga and ZBS Southern Region bureau chief Maganizo Mazeze represented the private broadcaster.
According to Macra, in its letter of summon to ZBS dated August 16 2016 and signed by Itaye, the regulator said it found the radio’s broadcast of its interview with Kalua in contravention with the Communications Act and its (ZBS) licence as it made unsubstantiated attacks on two parties (DPP and UDF) without giving them a right of reply as required by Schedule 3 of the Communications Act [Code of Conduct for broadcasters].
Macra alleged that in the interview that ZBS aired, Kalua, who is also third vice-president of opposition People’s Party (PP), made allegations that the governing DPP wants to start shedding blood, purportedly, of people deemed to be attacking or opposing government.
Itaye made reference to what Kalua was said to have alleged in the interview that the DPP regime killed student Robert Chasowa, UDF regime killed musician Evison Matafale and Fanikiso Phiri, another student and that DPP wants to shed blood again.
Chasowa, a University of Malawi The Polytechnic third year engineering student and political activist, was found dead at the college campus in September 2011, Matafale died in November 2001 under police custody after he had written a letter attacking the Bakili Muluzi regime, while Phiri was fatally shot by police following students’ riots at Chancellor College in December 2001.
Investigations were established for all the three deaths, but no logical conclusion has been reached yet.