High court favours FAM in broadcast rights impasse

High Court Judge Dingiswayo Madise sitting in Blantyre on Thursday issued an order to vary Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) injunction obtained to restrain Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) host and content producers, Mibawa Television from producing football matches in the country.

Judge Dingiswayo Madise

FAM and Mibawa have been offered temporary relief to broadcast the remaining Airtel Top-8 matches starting with this weekend’s game between Mafco and Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers and Moyale Barracks quarter-finals second leg matches, according to the order.

In the first legs Bullets thrashed Mafco 3-1 while Moyale conquered Wanderers 1-0.

Reads the order in part date November 18: “It is this day adjudged that the order of injunction dated November 13, 2021 be and is hereby varied to allow Mibawa Televsion to be the pay TV host/content producer through Zuku TV in respect only of the remaining Airtel Top-8 games pending further directions that counsel for the claimant shall draw up the formal order abridging the time lines for taking out the hearing inter parte process under the order of this Court dated November 13, 2021. Such application to be filed and served not later than November 19, 2021 and to be heard on Thursday November 25, 2021.”

But MBC lawyer of Makiyi and Kanyenda said he was not comfortable to comment because they have not been served with the order.

“I am unable to comment about the purported court order making rounds in the social medial spaces. As far as we are aware, the injunction order remains in place. We have been directed to serve FAM and Mibawa with inter partes application not later than tomorrow [Friday].”

FAM signed an agreement with Zuku TV to beam the football matches in the country with Mibawa Television as its content providers.

This did not go down well with the state broadcaster who claimed that they were already given the rights to be producing soccer matches on behalf of Mpira TV and that Mibawa television did not bid for the rights.

MBC director general George Kasakula accused the football association of acting suspiciously when it awarded the bid to Mibawa to become host content providers for Mpira TV while discussions between the two parties were in progress.

The injunction affected the broadcast of Malawi National Football Team against Cameroon in the World Cup qualifier on Saturday as well as the Airtel match between TN Stars and Silver Strikers at Chitowe Ground.

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