* MACRA’s Board is set to meet next month
* Capital FM Radio assured of maintaining its old frequencies once the application is successful
* The regulator is on a serious campaign in enforcing the law on all players in the industry
By Duncan Mlanjira
Capital FM Radio, whose broadcasting licence was revoked last month, has settled all its outstanding fees of over K14 million and awaits Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to consider its fresh licence application.
A statement from Director General, Daud Suleman says MACRA’s Board is set to review and consider the fresh licence application at its next board meeting scheduled next month, October 24, 2022.
“The licence may be granted depending on the submissions by the station,” says the public statement from Suleman. “If the application is successful, the licence shall become effective upon payment of initial fees and thereafter its publication in the Government Gazette.
“MACRA assures Capital FM Radio of maintaining its old frequencies once the application is successful.”
Suleman, while applauding Capital FM Radio’s “professional approach in addressing its licence obligations”, goes further to advise all licensees in the telecommunications, broadcasting and postal sectors to engage MACRA “on all matters that may relate to their licence status at any time”.
MACRA is on a serious campaign in enforcing the law on all players in the industry, with many of them having defaulted in paying their license and other obligatory fees for a very long time.
In recent weeks, MACRA had revoked content licences for six broadcasters — Ufulu FM, Ufulu Television, Galaxy FM, Joy Radio, Sapitwa FM and Capital FM.
Others whose licences were revoked included Angaliba Radio, Angaliba Television, Timveni Radio, Radio Maria, Sapitwa as well as Rainbow Television — belonging to Prophet Shephard Bushiri.
While some members of the public support MACRA’s stance in enforcing the law, legal firm Adrian & Company wrote to the regulator on August 25, 2022 — on behalf of Forum for National Development (FND) — alleging that the regulator was shielding state-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on its compliance to payment of license fees.
The lawyers asked MACRA to declare to the public MBC’s compliance to payment of license fees, but Suleman challenged Adrian & Company saying its demand for the regulator to declare the status lacked legal basis.
In response on August 30, Suleman put it on record that as of August 30, MBC account in MACRA’s books “is reflecting a negative balance of K111,672.22 indicating overpayment by MBC to MACRA”, and further advised the law firm to freely contact MACRA’s accounts department for any further clarification.