The High Court seating as Constitutional Court has reversed the June 2019 directive by Macra stopping phone-in radio programmes.
According to the ruling which was read out by High Court Judge Chifundo Kachale seating in a panel with judges Anabel Mtalimanja and Charles Mkandawire, Macra flouted procedures when issuing the said directive.
The ruling has also noted that Macra’s director general is not Macra, as such, the director general cannot decide on behalf of Macra but rather Macra ought to make decisions as an institution.
The constitutionality of the ban was being challenged by Misa-Malawi, Zodiak Broadcasting Station(ZBS) Times Radio and Capital FM.
Lawyer for Misa, John Suzi Banda said that the ban was not in line with the law, particularly the Communications Act of 2016.
Said Suzi Banda, “Macra was supposed to consult with the affected parties. But also … something very fundamental that the director general of Macra is not Macra as such he can’t make decisions on behalf of the body.
Macra lawyer Innocent Kadammanja has said that they respect the court ruling and will report the same to Macra board which will advise on the way forward.
Kachale also ordered Macra to meet the cost of the case for Misa Malawi.
Misa Malawi chairperson Tereza Ndanga said the ruling was a victory not only for the media, but Malawians and democracy as well.
“Misa Malawi considers the ruling a victory for media freedom and freedom of expression and a reminder to Macra and other public bodies to operate according to the dictates of the law. The ban was a direct attempt to curtail media freedom and freedom of expression without any legal basis,” she said.