What was served as a tasty dish for entertainment—seekers might have a sour aftertaste as the wrangle between Malawi Government and MultiChoice Malawi on the legality of a GOtv licence ensues.
Malawi Government recently stated that GOtv, a product of Multichoice Malawi, is operating illegally and the service could be discontinued.
Spokesperson for the Malawi Government, Moses Kunkuyu, said this in an exclusive interview on Saturday morning when giving an update on the issue.
“The Communications Act in clear terms asks any broadcaster to first acquire a licence before rolling its public activities which GOtv has not done.
“Government is very interested in investments, but we cannot accommodate illegal services,” said Kunkuyu, pointing out that the issue of GOtv should be considered the same way as that of Mulanje boy Gabriel Monjesi who was banned from running his community radio.
The minister also revealed that his office, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) and MultiChoice Malawi held a meeting before MultiChoice rolled out the service.
“The public should know that MultiChoice knows that it has breached the laws,” he said, pointing out that any negligence on the matter would attract fines or complete stoppage of the service.
Multichoice Malawi sales and marketing manager Chimwemwe Nyirenda said Macra is better placed to comment on the issue.
Martha Kwataine, chairperson of Macra board, in a phone interview said the board was looking at the public interest in the matter.
“Any breach of law has a process that is taken. Let me assure the public that we have not yet made a decision to close GOtv. There are a number of steps we are taking. There are issues of fines, penalties which are supposed to be taken before finally closing any service,” said Kwataine.
Some customers at GOtv’s Chayamba Building shop in Blantyre on Saturday voiced their anger at government, saying it wants to rob them of an affordable entertainment service.
GOtv started operating in January this year with coverage in Blantyre alone and only launched its Lilongwe viewership last month. The GOtv package is making inroads in Africa.