The High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court has reversed a decision by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to ban phone in radio programmes.
Reading the ruling, High Court Judge Chifundo Kachale, who was presiding over the case alongside judges Annabel Mtalimanja and Charles Mkandawire, said Macra flouted procedures when it issued the directive in June last year.
The panel also noted that the Macra Director General cannot individually decide on behalf of the whole institution, rather, Macra ought to make decisions as an institution through its board.
Misa-Malawi, alongside Zodiak Broadcasting Station, Times Radio and Capital FM, challenged the legality of the ban amid concerns that it was unconstitutional.
Misa Lawyer John Suzi Banda said that the ban was not in line with the law, particularly the Communications Act of 2016.
Said Suzi Banda: The court has also said that legislation is a preserve of Parliament and if subsidiary executive or any public authority, it has to follow procedures under section 58 of the constitution and has to be read before Parliament using the current standing orders in Parliament. It has, therefore, been found that Information Minister didn’t follow that procedure.”
In reaction, Macra lawyer Innocent Kadam’manja said they respect the court ruling and will report the same to Macra board, which will advise on the way forward.
Kachale, when reading the judgement, said: “The court is for the people. Therefore, the claimant is going to organise the charges, which will duly be covered by Macra”