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Macra for fair coverage of polls

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By Matilda Chimwaza:

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has recruited 25 media monitors ahead of the May 21 tripartite elections.

The recruits will be responsible for monitoring radio stations to ensure that there is fair coverage of the elections.

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Speaking in Mulanje District, during the opening of a week-long training for the officers, Macra Director General, Godfrey Itaye, said the people would be sent to districts to monitor broadcasters’ content to ensure that broadcasters are following rules.

“These officers are very crucial because, in most rural areas, we have community radio stations and we are going to assign the monitors to report everything that is happening. They will monitor broadcasting content, in particular. We are going towards the election period; therefore, we must ensure that all the rules are followed by broadcasters,” Itaye said.

Itaye said stakeholder complaints against broadcasters can only be resolved if the regulatory body has the right information, hence the recruitment of monitors.

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“We, as Macra, do get complaints and such complaints can only be sorted out properly if we have got the right information. So, these monitors will help [us] in gathering, analysing and reporting to Macra anything that is worth our attention,” he said

He said Macra wants broadcasters to work within the bounds of their licenses to ensure that there is fair coverage of election stakeholders.

“We expect all broadcasters to work within the frames of their licenses to make sure that they don’t get carried away by what is on the ground but work within the professionalism of the broadcasters,” Itaye said.

One of the monitors, Chikondi Manjawira, hailed the communications regulatory authority for the training, saying it would help her work professionally.

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