MACRA Shuts Down Joy Radio


The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has shut down Joy Radio Station with immediate effect after revoking its licence for what it called ‘breaching its licence conditions’.

According to communication hand delivered by a senior MACRA official to the offices of the radio, the broadcaster has been breaching Communications Act by transferring ownership of the radio into the hands of a politician.

Former President Bakili Muluzi owns the radio and according to Section 44 of the Act, no politician or a group of a political party shall be given a broadcasting licence to operate a radio.

“Initially, when the radio was issued with a broadcasting licence it was owned by different people but by and by the ownership started shifting and ended up into the hands of politicians,” said acting Director General of MACRA James Chimera.

Chimera who is a former broadcaster himself said they had been constantly warning the radio but it never took heed.

However, Joy Radio Management Coordinator Joseph Chapuma said they had been complying with directives to change some things, which MACRA ordered them to improve on.

“For four weeks now we have not been broadcasting programmes that were viewed politically biased following their directive, but MACRA has nonetheless decided to revoke our licence,” he said.

The radio, which went off air at exactly 18 hours on Friday, says it has engaged its lawyers to challenge the decision by MACRA.

Relationship between MACRA and Joy radio has been sour for sometime now. Early this year the regulatory body also shutdown Joy Television for operating without proper legislation.

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About Gregory Gondwe - Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Gregory Gondwe is a Malawian journalist who started practising journalism in 1993. Until March 31, 2012 he was regional editor and bureau chief for Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS). Gregory is also a media consultant assisting several international journalists pursuing assignments in Malawi. He holds a Diploma of Journalism and an Intermediate Certificate in Journalism among other media-related certificates. He is also columnist for Malawi's first and oldest weekly, Malawi News. He can be contacted on gregorygondwe@gmail.com.
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