For some time now, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Nineteen months before the next presidential elections, that story is back again
We learn that MBC’s biased coverage was yet again raised by the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions and State Enterprises.
The committee yesterday confronted the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority and demanded to know why the State broadcaster chose to ignore the opposition in covering the recent by-elections
Yes we agree with the committee. Why give a blackout on the by elections? Is it because the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost?
This is the reason why we dislike the journalism at MBC because it undermines the efforts of all journalists who work hard to be objective in their coverage of events.
Imagine, they chose to ignore the demolition of DPP in the just ended by elections. We are not impressed with that.
This may be hard for people who have never been journalists to understand, especially members of the ruling class who believe that it is “fair and balanced”, yet everyone at MBC knows that it has a political agenda that comes down from on high.
That smirk, when they explain that every administration has abused MBC, not only makes the State broadcaster a liar—it also mocks the integrity of all journalists who have committed their lives and careers to the ideals of objective journalism.
Most reporters care passionately about what they do — and just as passionately about doing it right.
Journalists, in general, don’t enter the profession to make money. If money were their goal, they would apply their college education and insatiable curiosity in more profitable directions — such as becoming political operatives.
The egos of real journalists are fed not by the money they make, but by the impact they have. Journalists have impact by covering controversy and causing change. If change they are pursuing affects a government of the day— in this case the DPP-led government— it is not being anti-Malawi.
Yes we admit that in newsrooms we support different political parties, but we always strive to work together peacefully and productively because we have always used the same rulebook.
That’s why “fair and balanced” is an example of the Big Lie,and why all of us — no matter our politics — should be a little bothered by that. It’s certainly why virtually all journalists who take objectivity seriously dislike the practice at MBC.
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