shrinking space

Malawi: Chakwera’s media crackdown raises alarm


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Posted on September 14, 2022 13:32

 © Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera (photo: twitter)
Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera (photo: twitter)

In what has been described as an unprecedented act and shrinking of the media space, the Malawi government has shut down three television and six radio stations on failure to pay annual licence fees. These closures by President Chakwera’s government has many wondering if the country’s freedom of speech is being tested.

More than 20 other radio stations face closure by the end of the year, thereby threatening job security of about 250 media practitioners and around 150 support staff at the media houses.

Through its broadcasting regulatory body, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), the government has been shutting down media houses accused of failure to comply with their licence conditions, one of which is payment of annual subscription fees.

Television and radio stations that have been closed so far include Rainbow TV, Angaliba TV, Ufulu TV, Galaxy FM, Angaliba FM, Sapitwa FM and Joy FM.

However, one of the closed media houses, Rainbow Television, was shut down despite having paid all the outstanding licence fees of about $10,000. The station manager, Aubrey Kusakala, says they paid the fees on 20 June.

‘MACRA did not want us to exist at all’

According to Kusakala, MACRA wants to cease

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