Members of Parliament (MP) Thursday resolved to vote on a motion by Dowa North East Member of Parliament, Sam Kawale, that Parliament should allocate K1 to Malawi Broadcasting Station (MBC) for alleged lack of professionalism.
In the vote, 74 MPs voted against the idea, 40 were for the idea while one abstained. It was, however, an exercise which revealed that 77 MPs were absent.
Kawale, who is also Chairperson of Parliament’s Media, Information, and C o m m unications Committee, raised the issue when the MPs were about to start scrutinizing K84.7 billion allocation to subvented organizations, out of which MBC was allocated K1.8 billion.
Kawale said the media house has failed to operate to the expectations of taxpayers through its delivery of news and programmes.
“We have witnessed the failure of the institution to adhere to its core values and mission [despite] that [it] thrives on the taxpayers’ money. The majority of people who pay taxes on a monthly basis are complaining of the unprofessionalism of what is supposed to be a public entity. They are complaining every day about hate language, bias in terms of reporting and programming. If these cannot be contained easily, [they can] lead to anarchy and instability in this country,” Kawale said.
He added that they have observed that the media house has the capacity to generate funds that can help it operate independently.
“MBC is much bigger than any other media institution in the country and, because of that, if private institutions are able to thrive year in, year out, there is no reason it cannot thrive in the same competitive environment,” he said.
However, the motion was crushed and this led to the division. The legislators from government benches overpowered those that voted for the amendment.
During the morning sitting, the MPs passed allocations to government ministries, departments and agencies.
Apart from the K84.7 billion allocation to subvented organisations, the MPs also passed allocations to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (K86.4 billion), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation (K22.3 billion), Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development (K14.8 billion) and Accountant General Department (K14.3 billion).
Others are Local Development Fund (K21.3 billion), Malawi Revenue Authority (K27.6 billion) and Roads Fund Administration (K61.9 billion).