Taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on Friday moved quickly to send on suspension four journalists for their role in a story that erroneously described the incumbent Malawi President as 'Late Professor Peter Mutharika.'
MBC boss Sumbuleta and Controller of News, Current Affairs and Online Service at MBC Vincent Khonyongwa
The report, that had gone viral on Thursday night was done by MBC's Lilongwe-based reporter Mwai Mtumodzi when he was rounding- up the the official visit of the Tanzania President John Magufuli's visit to Malawi where inside the report, the journalist erroneously described the statue of former late President Bingu wa Mutharika as that belonging to 'the late Professor Peter Mutharika'
The two names have been confusing a lot of people as the two brothers were both Professors and both also became Malawi's Presidents.
Those that have gone home include the author of the news report Mwai Mtumodzi, Chief News Editor Waliko Makhala, News Producer Austin Fukula and Assistant News Producer Wesyslas Chirwa.
The four according to suspension letters, which Nyasa Times has seen, are being accused in various was for allowing such kind of a report to find itself on air.
According to one of the letters, dated 25th April, 2019, signed by MBC's Director of Administration Gift Nyambalo , MBC writes that: "Management has noted with deep concern that the presidential story report that you approved for airing on the television channel on Thursday 25th April, 2019 had a very serious factual error."
The letter further said:"We find the report to be most unprofessional and it shows carelessness on your part for allowing such kind of a report to go on air undetected."
It further said that consequently the recipient was now being suspended from duty with immediate effect for incompetence but on full pay as the matter was being investigated.
The suspension of the 4 MBC employees comes barely a few days after the ruling DPP's presidential running mate Everton Chimulirenji also described the 'Late Professor Mutharika' instead of the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
Former presidential advisor on the youth Vuwa Kaunda also made a similar mistake last week in Nkhatabay.
The running mate made this mistake at Likoma Island when he went there to conduct some election campaign.