Malawi regulator to establish TV studios and MACRA centres of excellence

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) says it is in the process of establishing studios and centres of excellence for capacity building in the production of local content for the television industry in the country and abroad.

Mervis Mangulenje, board chair of Macra: Centres will nature innovation

MACRA’s board chairperson Mervis Mangulenje said this on Tuesday in Lilongwe during the opening of a three day workshop on broadcasting and content production.

Mangulenje said the facilities will help in overcoming the big challenge in local content production that is fuelled by a general lack of technical skills and necessary tools, creativity and critical thinking skills.

“These centres will nurture innovation in content production by allowing those with talent to improve their skills using different settings in the equipment that will be at their disposal,” Mangulenje said.

She added that today’s broadcasting industry requires a combination of talent and technical knowledge that can be enhanced through innovation.

Despite having 25 licensed stations, Malawi’s television industry is still struggling in meeting local programming content with most station beaming more of foreign content at the expense of local.

According to MACRA, programming of content on local television stations should be 60 percent local and 40 percent foreign.

Minister of Transport and Public Infrastructure Jappie Mhango, who was guest of honour at the opening ceremony, said this obsession with foreign content is eroding away cultural awareness among youths and the general population in the country.

“A country should be identified by its culture but in Malawi that is not the case because many people are forgetting a lot about our culture and following foreign culture because of programming content in our TV stations,” Mhango said.

He further said that lack of local content programming is also undermining efforts of government in reducing the information and communication gap between the rural masses and urban population.

“The rural population is being left behind because such programming only accommodates and meets the media literacy of urban people,” he said, adding that government plans to support innovation and growth in the production of local content.

The three-day workshop has attracted participants from the regulatory body, broadcasting industry, content-production companies, the academia and experts from Multichoice International in South Africa.

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