Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Gospel Kazako, has assured media managers in the country that the Tonse Alliance administration will ensure that all concerns and suggestions raised by media houses during an interface meeting in Blantyre are addressed and implemented accordingly.
Kazako made the remarks on Thursday when he engaged media managing directors to share their challenges as part of strategies to advance good working relationship between the government and media houses.
“Media houses have raised concerns many times and the issues have been discussed and tabled but no progress has been made
“This new government believes in implementing, therefore, whatever has been discussed here will be looked into,” he said.
Among other challenges raised during the meeting were advertisement arrears that the government has with most of the media houses, debts that most media houses have with state agents like the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA).
“We want to make sure that we are creating normalcy in the media industry, because these arrears and debts are of huge sums of money, we will therefore go back to review these positions and see the way forward,” added Kazako.
One of the participants, Times Media Group Managing Director, Leonard Chikadya, said it is high time that government starts focusing on long term objectives other that just collecting taxes from media houses.
“There is need for the government to look into the possibility of growing a base in the media industry from which the government can collect taxes.
“A review of policy must also be considered so that other media houses other that just Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) have a lee way to survive through adverts,” said Chikadya.
Mibawa Television Managing Director, John Nthakoma, pointed out that government should consider broadcasting houses from the Universal Service Fund adding that equipment used in the media industry and production of programmes are very expensive.
“We strive to give out the best to the public through our programs. So if we are not supported the level of quality of the service will be affected,” he said.
Kazako and MACRA Director of Broadcasting, Fergus Lipenga, have promised to continue engaging media houses to provide all the support to ensure growth in the communication sector.