The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has summoned Capital Radio to a hearing over its Tuesday edition of Straight Talk programme which featured outspoken Thyolo Thava MP Lifred Nawena (independent).
According to a January 12 2012 letter signed by Macra director general Charles Nsaliwa, the radio is supposed to appear before the regulatory body at 9am.
“Macra is inviting Capital Radio to a meeting scheduled for Tuesday 17 January 2012 at 9.am. The aim of the meeting is to discuss Straight Talk Programme of 10 January 2012 in which Thyolo Thava MP Lifred Nawena was featured,” reads the letter. “
It adds: “Macra finds the programme to be in breach of broadcasting licence and generally accepted broadcasting standards and would like to hear from Capital FM representations on the same.”
The radioÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s controller of news and current affairs Dennis Mzembe confirmed receiving summons from the regulatory body, adding that the stationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s representative would appear before Macra as demanded.
“Yes, we are aware of the summons and we will accordingly appear before the authority on Tuesday.
“We are hoping that the meeting will provide both parties a better understanding of each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s concerns in a bid to further promote freedom of expression in Malawi,” said Mzembe in an interview on Sunday.
National Media Institute of Southern Africa (Namisa) chairperson Anthony Kasunda said in an interview that he has been informed of the impending meeting between Macra and Capital Radio over a programme.
Kasunda said as a media watch dog that strive to advocate freedom of expression in the country, Namisa is watching the development with interest to ensure that there are no deliberate attempts to gag the fourth estate.
“We have been informed by Capital Radio of the development and we will wait to hear the outcome of this meeting. It is our prayer that Macra is doing this without undue pressure from some quarters that are not happy with the programme,” said Kasunda.
“When the media is being gagged, it is not the media that suffers, it is the public because it is denied the right to information,” he said.