Dr Benson Tembo – Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority Technical Advisor (Pic. The Nation)

BLANTYRE – The MALAWI Communications Regulatory Authority, MACRA, has threatened to close down all broadcasters who fail to submit their audited accounts.

MACRA Digital Broadcasting Technical Advisor BENSON TEMBO says the Authority will ban stations that deliberately ignore professional ethics to please their masters, as the country approaches general elections.

He says the conditions are the licencing requirements that the country should not be discussing or debating, because all the broadcasters know the system.

Mr TEMBO says audited accounts will enable MACRA to charge the broadcasters a levy for a Universal Service Fund, under which media houses pay individual fees according to their incomes.

The former Director General of the national broadcaster says the proposed Fund aims to ensure every MALAWIAN has access to information technology and broadcasting services.

Mr TEMBO says the authorities know about the hard-to-reach areas without radio or television signals; and the Fund will help correct the situation.

Meanwhile, MACRA Broadcasting Director FEGUS LIPENGA says media houses should avoid sensational news reports as the country moves towards general polls.

The MALAWI Electoral Commission launched the 2019 Tripartite Elections on 20 FEBRUARY 2018 at the BINGU International Conference Centre in the capital, LILONGWE.

Mr LIPENGA says some journalists are not even ashamed to air false information, and the Authority will equally not hesitate to deal with them – because broadcasting is a regulated market.

He also says all broadcasters should provide reliable and diversified coverage of politics, in order to improve the broadcasting industry in the country.

The TWO MALAWIAN officials were speaking during a stakeholder workshop on draft rules for the planned Universal Services Fund at SUNBIRD CAPITAL Hotel in the capital, LILONGWE./Sabanews/cam

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