Home 9 Access to information 9 MACRA should reverse revocation of Rainbow Television licence

MACRA should reverse revocation of Rainbow Television licence

Panel Discussion Malawi
12 Jun, 2022
We advise media outlets in similar situation to engage the regulator before things get out of hand.

MISA Malawi has noted with concern the revocation of Rainbow Television’s licence by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA).

On Friday, June 10, 2022, MACRA Director General Daud Suleiman announced in a statement the revocation of the station’s licence over failure to pay annual licence fees.

MISA Malawi finds the revocation disturbing considering that there had already been ongoing negotiations between the two parties. At the time of the announcement of the licence revocation, Rainbow Television had paid, in two instalments, almost half of the required amount. MACRA has therefore announced the revocation on the basis of the remaining amount.

While MISA Malawi does not condone default on broadcasting licence fees, we find the revocation of Rainbow Television’s licence to be ill-timed and can easily be construed as an attempt by the government to silence critical voices. The issue of unpaid licence fees could have easily been resolved through mutual negotiations.

We advise media outlets in similar situation to engage the regulator before things get out of hand.

The move by MACRA will deny Malawians access to relevant information at this critical time President Lazarus Chakwera and his administration are championing implementation of the Access to Information law. MACRA’s decision will put Rainbow Television workers out of jobs at a time the government says it is determined to create more and more jobs.

MISA Malawi believes that the best approach would have been for MACRA to engage the management of Rainbow Television and resolve the matter amicably. 

MISA Malawi would, therefore, like to appeal to MACRA to rescind its decision and allow for a progressive means of resolving the issue.

We believe that such a move would align with a number of the current administration’s progressive policies including having a more open government for a more informed citizenry and creation of more jobs. It would also help clear out the impression that the government has started taking systematic steps to suffocate the media and stifle freedom of expression.

Contacts

MISA Malawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga
Cell: +265 999 247 911 or email teresa.temweka@gmail.com
MISA Malawi National Director Aubrey Chikungwa
Cell: +265 999 327 311 or email info@misamalawi.org

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1992. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.

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