The High Court of Malawi has slapped Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) in the face, granting broadcasters temporary relief to resume radio phone-in programmes on their airwaves.
Macra ordered suspension of all phone-in programmes over allegations that they were fuelling tension in the country amid the ongoing post-election political crisis.
In granting the order, High Court Judge Ruth Chinangwa said Macra erred in issuing a blanket ban on the premise that some broadcasters had violated terms of their broadcasting licenses.
She said the court was yet to ascertain whether broadcasters indeed violated the terms of their licences as alleged by Macra, but the blanket ban violates rights of the broadcasters.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter alongside private broadcasters Zodiak Broadcasting Station and Times Group jointly sought the court relief.
In an interview last evening, Misa Malawi chairperson Teresa Ndanga hailed the decision as a victory for freedom of expression.
She said: “It’s a great development for the media industry and Malawians whose freedom of expression was usurped. I urge media houses to ensure that their programming is professional and within the dictates of the law.”