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Swedish Radio examines an emerging alcohol market - in the third world
Two journalists of the Swedish radio documentary "Kaliber" visited Malawi and filed a report about those who experience the alcohol problems first hand, and the industry representative that think there is no alochol problem in the country.
The national Swedish broadcasting corporation Swedish Radio has a slot set aside for investigative journalism in the weekly 30 minutes radio documentary "Kaliber". Recently two journalists visited Malawi to report on the alcohol situation in one of the poorest countries of the world. The program ”They are making us starve - About the new market for alcohol companies" was aired in early May. An English transcript is now available.
In the introduction to the program it is pointed out that in Malawi every second child is undernourished. It is there, among the youths of the developing countries that the alcohol industry is searching for its future market. That is where the customers are. That is where there’s an opportunity to market without restrictions. That is where it is possible to lobby for a liberal alcohol policy. “Kaliber” examines the emerging market of the alcohol industry – in the third world.
The listeners meet representatives of the country’s only organization dedicated to fighting alcohol problems – Drugfight Malawi. The president of the organisation, Nelson Zakeyu, says that the multinational alcohol companies in his country are making peoples starve.
- They are making us poorer and poorer, he says. He also says that alcohol has an important impact on the three main problem areas in Malawian society: poverty, the HIV epidemic and the maltreatment of women. The journalists also reports from meetings with women who have first hand experience of alcohol related domestic violence and they visit a neighbourhood primitive combined bar and brewery.
A couple of days later they take a tour of a completely different kind of brewery, that of Carlsberg, which is one of the world’s biggest and richest alcohol companies. Last year Carlsberg had a turn over of 86 billion SEK, which is twice as much as Malawi’s budget.Carlsberg’s marketing director in Malawi, Mads Burmester, tells them that there’s no addiction problem in the country.
Three marketing campaigns presently running in Malawi appear to the journalists to be running counter even to the company’s own marketing codes: One is for the extra strong Elephant beer. The text read: “Drink Elephant beer when you want a beer with more alcohol than in other beers! A real elephant person is someone who is strong and full of character.” The second is a beer sponsored radio program aimed at a young audience and the third is Carlsberg’s famous beer bashes around the country.
You can read an English transcript of the program: ”They are making us starve” - About the new market for alcohol companies