In August, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) revoked the licenses of a number of private radio and television stations over what it said was the non-payment of license fees. Ufulu FM, Ufulu Television, Galaxy FM, Joy Radio, Sapitwa FM, Capital Radio, Angaliba Radio, Angaliba Television and Rainbow Television are now off the air.

The closure of further private broadcasters is expected. Some media experts are applauding the enforcement of a law that has long not been applied. Others are concerned that the government is trying to silence its critics. The broadcasters that were stripped of their licenses had been given until August 22 to settle their outstanding fees, but payment was not made.

The regulatory body has indicated that it plans to revoke at least 23 broadcasting licenses by the end of the year and recover in excess of $100,000 in unpaid fees. Malawi has a total of 95 broadcast licensees. The local chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has criticized the move by MACRA as ill-timed.


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