BLANTYRE–Macra, reacting to a plan by lawmaker and opposition politician Atupele Muluzi to establish a TV station from neigbouring Zambia, says this practice would be “illegal in Malawi” according to relevant broadcasting laws, rules and regulations of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
In a statement by its director general Charles Nsaliwa, Macra—Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, said it had come to its attention that “some prospective local broadcasters are intending to introduce foreign originating broadcasting services in Malawi without Macra’s authorization and approval.”
It said article 4 of ITU radio regulations states that member states undertake that in assigning frequencies which are capable of causing harmful interference to the services rendered by the stations of another country, such assignments are to be made in accordance with the table of frequency allocations and other provisions of these regulations.”
The institution said this requires that where a transmitted broadcasting signal is covering two bordering countries, such countries are supposed to coordinate the assignment of their frequencies to avoid intereference with respect to the existing regulations of such countries.
Macra said it does expect any prospective broadcasters that want to originate their broadcasting services from a foreign country to seek Macra’s approval and authorization in accordance with the powers granted to it by the communications act.
Muluzi, who seeks to enter the presidential race in 2014 under the UDF ticket, has hinted that JoyTV would be given a licence by Zambia to operate from Chipata and beam its programmes into Malawi.
Zambia’s newly elected president Michael Sata has a cordial relationship with Atupele’s father, former president Bakili Muluzi. In 2007, Sata, then opposition leader, flew to Malawi to meet Muluzi but was arrested on arrival and deported.
Sata turned down an invitattion to attend the just recently ended COMESA heads of government summit in Malawi, saying he didn’t know why he was arrested four years ago.
Pres Bingu wa Mutharika, who was serving his first term then and has had a stormy relationship with his predecessor Muluzi, has since reversed the deportation order against Sata.