MACRA risks legal action over MBC operating license fees compliance

Forum for National Development (FND) has threatened to take legal actions against Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) for shielding state-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on its compliance to payment of license fees.

MACRA revoked licenses for Ufulu FM, Ufulu Television, Galaxy FM, Rainbow Television and Angaliba TV and radio, among others, for failure to service their license fees.

Suleman–The service allows the unbanked to participate in digital economy—Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

The development has seen some stations opting to close shop because they cannot afford to settle the determined fees.

However, MACRA kept a tight lid on the status of the public broadcaster and this has prompted FND to suspect that MBC could as well be culpable, but was merely spared because it is being used as a government mouthpiece.

Hence, the organization, through its lawyers, Adrian & Company, has demanded that MACRA should provide evidence to prove that MBC paid its annual license fees.

“In view of the matter aforesaid; and considering that the licenses being revoked are of private institutions; it may easily be construed that Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is being used by the government to silence critical voices.

“Our client has therefore, further instructed us to demand your office to furnish the public and “Our Client’ all documents being proof of payment of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) TV, as well as Radio 1 and 2 towards annual licence fees to the Malawi government through Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and to kindly advise us on how your esteemed office intends to settle this matter,” reads the letter FND counsel has written MACRA.

“KINDLY TAKE NOTICE that unless we receive a plausible response within 14 days from the date hereof, we shall be left with no option but commence legal action against yourselves without further notice,” concludes the letter.

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