MISA Malawi takes MACRA to court

Teresa Ndanga

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Malawi chapter says it has decided to seek the High Courts’ intervention over the decision by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), to suspend phone-in programs.

MACRA suspended phone-in programs on all broadcasters on 7th June, 2019, and has not changed its position on the matter despite several attempts by the Chapter and media outlets to amicably resolve the issue.

A statement signed by its chairperson Teresa Ndanga, the Chapter says it has partnered Times, Zodiak and Capital Radios to seek the Court’s declaration that the decision of MACRA violates constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press, among other rights, and that the procedure followed in making the decision was improper as no consultations were made with affected parties as required by law.

"It remains our hope that MACRA will share our intention of amicably resolving the matter without resorting to litigation. We believe that, with the collaboration of all players in the media, we can as a nation create an environment that fosters healthy debate among citizens while at the same time ensuring that media houses remain true to their responsibility of maintaining expected standards," says Ndanga

The matter was filed at the High Court, Lilongwe Registry, on 2nd September, 2019.

The Court has set aside 16th September, 2019 to hear the application for a temporary injunction stopping MACRA from implementing the decision pending a final (or other) decision of the Court.