Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has revoked the content licences for Power FM 101 and Dziko FM over their failure to pay annual licence fees.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Macra director general Daud Suleman said the regulator gave the two broadcasters up to October 18 2022 to pay the outstanding licence fees amounting to K31 745 201 for Power FM 101 and K37 640 466 for Dziko FM.
Reads the statement in part: “The revocation of the licences will be effective 30 days from 19th October 2022, the date of receipt by Power FM 101 and Dziko FM, of the notification from Macra revoking their licences.”
Suleman, who stated that failure to pay annual licence fees is a serious breach of licences, further advised the two media institutions that they are free to apply, in future, for a content licence.
On the media houses previously reprimanded, he said Angaliba Television and Angaliba Radio, MIJ Radio, Voice of Livingstonia, Chisomo Radio and Ndirande FM have cleared their outstanding licence fees and the licences have been renewed.
An inside source at Power FM 101 said the institution has been struggling economically due to harsh economic environment and stiff competition on the market.
“We are facing a hostile business environment following the proliferation of media houses and online advertising,” said the source.
In August 2022, Macra revoked licences of Capital FM Radio, Joy Radio and Sapitwa Radio over licence fees totalling K46 million.
This was after Macra had revoked licenses of Rainbow Television and Joy Radio over the same issue.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter and Media Council of Malawi estimates that 250 full-time jobs will be affected due to the closure of the television and radio stations.
The two media institutions called for suspension of revocation of broadcasting licences by Macra, saying the exercise is too drastic and can be construed as a systematic violation of freedom of expression in the country.
Misa Malawi Chapter chairperson Teresa Ndanga said the economic crisis the country is experiencing has not spared the media sector. “Advertising, the main source of revenue for most media businesses, is dwindling,” she said.