23 Feb 2023

The Media Complaints Commission has cited adoption of digital technology as a key way of ensuring faster mediation of media disputes.

Commission chairman Mr William Oketch told visiting  delegation from the Media Council of Malawi (MCM) that the Commission has cleared backlog of cases , thanks to a hybrid system  that utilises both digital and physical handling of media disputes brought before it.

“One of the main reasons behind MCC’s success is pegged on the adoption of the hybrid mode of communication which was occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission has been able to mediate in cases through online and physical sittings which has been effective in clearing the backlog of cases that we have had, some dating as back as 2019”, said Mr Oketch.

The Malawai team was led by  Executive Director Mr Moses Kaufa, Vice-Chairperson of the Board Ms Kambalame Edynah Tawonga and MCM’s Programmes Manager Mr Chinkhokwe Philip Paul.

 The team was in the country on a learning tour to understand the legal, policy and regulatory framework of media in Kenya as well as enforcement of the journalistic code of conduct.

Mr Oketch reiterated the need to exercise best practice while undertaking respective mandates, saying this would help in inspiring them while executing their work.

 “The destiny of African media is intertwined. The challenges and prospects of success cut across hence the need for partnerships and experience sharing with colleagues from the Malawi Media Council. Ubuntu connects us all and is a rallying call for governments to protect media practice”, said Mr Oketch.

The MCC Executive Director Mr Kaufa noted that the media disputes mediation function was undertaken by the MCM's Ethics, Complaints and Disciplinary Committee, unlike in Kenya where the mandate is separated from the country’s media regulator.

“As the media space in Malawi continues growing, the pressure to ensure that we maintain journalism standards is also high. Most of the complaints received by the Council through the relevant channels have ensured that MCM operates with the utmost independence, offering effectiveness, accountability and transparency”, said Mr Kaufa.

Mr Kaufa said the Council is working with media houses to raise awareness about its work.

“To enhance awareness of the Council, we have an agreement with some of the media houses to allocate us space on particular days of the week to publish articles free of charge”, he said.