By Lifu Litete:
An influential media body the Media Council of Malawi has urged media houses in the country to comply to their license obligations to avoid their licenses being revoked.
The remarks from Media Council of Makawi Chairperson Wisdom Chimgwede come as Malawi has today joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Democracy Day.
Chimgwede’s sentiments are also coming at a time when the country’s Telecommunication regulator MACRA has been facing widespread condemnation for revoking licenses of some media houses that have failed to meet their license obligation by not paying the annual fee.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of activities to mark the day, Chimgwede said as a responsible media house, it is their obligation to pay their annual fee to the regulator.
“Our stand is that we don’t support revocation of licenses neither do we support non-compliance. What we are urging the parties is to be sober and handle the issues amicably.
“Further, in future, it is important that MACRA should not wait until things get out of hand; same with the licensees. If they have a problem, let them be proactive in knocking the doors of MACRA than waiting until the regulator shake them up,” said Chimgwede.
Chimgwede has since proposed the need for the review of the country’s communication Act if the annual license fee is to be reduced as that is the only legally binding remedy.
“Yes, fees are exorbitant, but that’s the current law, until it’s changed, we have to comply as we keep lobbying authorities to restructure the fees regime,” said Chimgwede.
MACRA has of late been under criticism from some quarters of the society accusing it of abusing it’s powers by revoking licenses of radio and TV stations deemed to be critical of the Tonse led administration an assertion the regulator has vehemently dismissed.