If we are put matters categorically clear and in their apple pie order, the relationship between the state and private media is never rosy world over. In developing countries, the relationship is even worse for two reasons. Culture of Secrecy and Corruption is one aspect. Consequently, the media is deemed a threat to government business. The media tells the secret story, and government gets provoked and take it personal. The other reason is dominance of government (public institutions) at the market. Government is the major advertiser in newspapers, and consequently and irrefutably its major financier, indirectly.
These two reasons pragmatically make the social intercourse between government and the media rather tricky, sensitive and flimsy. However, we should all remember media pounce on its big advertisers with caution. It is careful, very careful especially when it is a private advertiser like Press Corporation or Airtel. For government, advertisers and editorials are rather relaxed. But that is a good thing. Government exists for the masses. Nevertheless, government officials are never happy to be embarrassed in the media. That’s obvious. This dichotomy is very fundamental in understanding and predicating the behavior of both the government and the media at such times like the one our country is entangled into.
It is not surprising, therefore, that government, or call it MRA would descend on The Times Group and embarrass the media giant on ground of tax invasion. While some people would peg this action on the ruling DPP, I feel it is beyond the party. It is not the first time MRA seals offices of a local corporate citizen. It is also not only in DPP regime that offices belonging to media organisations are sealed. MRA has had sealed Galaxy Radio before.
I feel we are perturbed and flabbergasted this time because it is a giant that has been dismantled and embarrassed especially at a time it is deemed very aggressive on reporting the Maizegate. Forget about the politicization of whole thing, it is predictable and generally very peculiar. If anything its a question of why would the Times Group fail to comply with this basic principle? Times Group has one of the best editorial team in town. Lets accept the giant has symptoms of poor management. Instead of clinging to the business that brings it money, Times Group diversify just way too much. It wants to start every form of media organisation in town. That’s why despite having the goodwill and morale, Times still struggle to display its corporate patriotism. I thought this whole thing should be a wake up call for the Times Group to do an honest soul searching, and reposition itself. Otherwise, it wont be long before we hear of another retrenchment. Kudos Times Editorial, Thumbs down the management! (Source-Focus Chembe Maganga’s FB Page)