Government says it will not privatise the Malawi Digital Broadcasting Network Limited (MDBNL) instead the institution has been turned into a business entity to provide competitive digital broadcasting services to sustain its operations.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Henry Mussa acknowledged that government could not sustain the institution’s operations, hence, it decided to turn it into a parastatal with an independent board to oversee its operations.
He was speaking after touring MDBNL offices and equipment on Thursdays to appreciate its operations and challenges.
Said Mussa: “We understand private television stations are there to make money and if their existence on the MDBNL platform is not making economic sense, then they may not be free. That is why you hear of the introduction of pay services to raise money. You have to draw a line between what is free for all and that which is commercial”.
MDBNL director of marketing and public relations John Mchilikizo said free local channel viewing will continue despite the company introducing pay-TV service for foreign content that will be able to compete with existing service providers.
The country switched on its digital signal on December 30 2013, following a recommendation by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
So far according to Mchilikizo over 70 000 decoders have been sold to Malawians and the institution intends to reduce prices so that more Malawians can access the services. n