The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) on Wednesday issued 15 broadcasting licences to independent radio and television stations in Malawi in a move geared at enhancing media diversity and pluralism.
Information and Civic Education Minister Moses Kunkuyu announced the issuance of the licences at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre.
Among the newly licensed broadcasters are Timveni Television (TV), Adventist TV, Chanco Community TV, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) TV, Beta TV and Times TV. On the other hand, some of the radios that have been licensed include Bua FM Radio, Mwandama Community, Matindi, Blantyre CCAP Synod, Nkhoma CCAP Synod and Livingstonia CCAP Synod.
Kunkuyu also pledged that the Joyce Banda administration will ensure that diversity of views is guaranteed in the media.
â€œIt is because we walk the talk that I can stand here and claim that no media house in Malawi can claim to face threats from this government. For some of these people, it has been a number of years since they qualified [to get licences], but for some political reasons, they were denied the licences. So, it needed a minister to consult with the leadership and the President told me to give them the licences,â€ the minister said.
The new licencees are expected to roll out within six months from the date of issuance for radios and 12 months for television stations.
Timveni Television executive director Manyanda Nyasulu said he did not expect the licence would be approved â€œso soon.â€
Commenting on the issue of Joy TVâ€™s broadcasting licence, Macra director general Charles Nsaliwa said they will seekÂ fresh guidance from government to approve that Joy be awarded with a licence.
â€œJoy came on air with their TV signal when they did not have a broadcasting licence; as such it is a mandatory requirement that whoever comes on the air without a licence, Macra has the powers to shut down such kind of transmissions.
Joyâ€™s equipment was confiscated and it became a court issue, and so far the courts have allowed that we can give them back their equipment,â€ said Nsaliwa.