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MBC Celebrates 50 Years

Promises audience to take impartial approach to news coverage in the future

President Mutharika addresses attendees during the event.

MBC Director General Benson Tembo
speaks to guests.

BLANTYRE, Malawi — Malawi’s public broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corp., celebrated 50 years of broadcasting in December.

During a colorful ceremony held on Dec. 6 at the State House in the capital Lilongwe, the executives from the broadcaster promised to offer even more entertaining, informative and educative programs for the next 50 years.

Sporting the theme “Celebrating the legends,” the event featured several artists, footballers and radio personalities. It also hosted an awards ceremony.

Malawi President Peter Mutharika, guestof honor during the six-hour long gathering, emphasized to attendees that celebrating 50 years of existence of MBC was an important achievement.

“All MBC staff, both as individuals and collectively, and indeed all of us, should spare some time to examine what these legends did well that you can learn from,” he said. “Yes, others will say MBC did well then because it was the only platform in the electronic media. I choose to differ.”

Former MBC broadcaster Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma (holding microphone),
who was also a member of the defunct MBC Band, entertains attendees.

President Mutharika went on to say that MBC excelled because “these legends strongly subscribed to the fundamental principles of hard work, patriotism, passion, unity and ethics, among others, which are pivotal to the success of any institution.”

Acknowledging the now stiff competition in today’s radio landscape due to the arrival of more radios stations, Mutharika’s pledged to assist MBC to scale-up its responsibilities toward Malawians.

MBC Director General Benson Tembo reinforced the sentiment by stating during his speech that the broadcaster was working toward giving fair coverage to all political parties unlike before.

MBC has long been accused of bias towards the ruling party in its coverage. But Tembo pointed out that this is now history.

Vice President Saulos Chilima, right, presents
legendary MBC broadacaster Verson Idi with the
MBC Newsreader Lifetime Achievement Award.
“You would agree with me that since the May 20 [2014] elections, MBC has been striving to report its news fairly, without any political bias,” he said. “And we assure our audience that we will continue taking that impartial approach in the next 50 years of broadcasting.”

Tembo also disclosed that MBC is working with other stakeholders such as the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authorities in reviewing certain sections of the Communications Act, which he said has in the past had sometimes compromised balanced coverage.

Founded in 1964, MBC airs two radio stations, Radio 1 and Radio 2, and transmits on FM, medium-wave and shortwave. It is also available online at www.mbc.mwand runs the national television station, MBC TV.

Lameck Masina reports on the industry for Radio World from Blantyre, Malawi.