Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has revoked the Television Content License for Rainbow Television over a substantial breach of failing to pay annual license fees.
In a press statement released on Friday, the revocation of the license for Rainbow TV — whose major shareholder is Prophet Shepherd Bushiri — was effective 30 days from June 9, 2022.
“MACRA wishes to advise all licensees in the Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Postal sectors that failure to pay annual license fees is a serious breach of their licenses and they risk having their license revoked,” reads part of the statement.
Confirming the development in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA), MACRA’s Communication Manager, Zadziko Mankhambo said Rainbow TV has flouted what is stipulated in the Communications Act which demands TV broadcasters to pay an annual fee currently pegged at $5,000 (approx K5.1 million).
“They have failed to do what is required of them as stipulated in the Act, as such, we have indeed revoked their license having failed to pay the annual license fee which they last paid six months ago,” Mankhambo said.
He further clarified that there is no clandestine motive behind the revocation as MACRA has only acted upon powers vested in the Communications Act.
Reacting to the news in a separate interview, Rainbow TV Station Manager, Aubrey Kusakala, attributed the delays of payment due to ownership wrangles between the major shareholder Prophet Bushiri and former owner Omar Kaisi.
“Prophet Bushiri was non-committal to settle dues as ownership [arrangements] of the station was not completed at the time, as such, after an agreement with MACRA, we agreed to pay them in installments,” he said.
“We paid K4 million in December, 2021 and also the same amount in February 2022. We committed to finalise the remaining amount by 31st May, but due to the current financial climate, we recently asked for an extension of 90 days which was not responded to.”
Kusakala further alleged that many television houses have been struggling to generate income and it is not only Rainbow TV owing MACRA outstanding payments, others are yet to settle bigger remittances.
“Many media houses made their pledges to MACRA during a meeting in Mangochi to which we were not invited. If we go off air, over 80 employees supporting 400 households will be rendered destitute,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :