As the demonstrations that began as unrest mostly in major cities of the country over May 21 flawed election descend into a full-blown uprising against Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Justice Dr. Jane Ansah, and Peter Mutharika by extension, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has told radio and TV stations to stop live coverage of events.
The regulatory body says the ban is in line with the Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations 2019 which came into effect in June this year.
“Regulation 301 (1) of the Regulations provides that no broadcaster shall conduct a live broadcast without the aid of a delay machine. Pursuant to this provision you are hereby prohibited from carrying out any live broadcast until you are in compliance with this provision. This directive is with immediate effect,” MACRA Director General Godfrey Itaye said in a statement today.
MACRA announced the ban while radio and TV stations were covering post-election demonstrations conducted today across the country.
Demonstrators filled the streets in the country’s major cities demanding the resignation Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Jane Ansah who is accused of mismanaging the May 21 elections.
Meanwhile, MISA Malawi has said Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority’s (MACRA) ban on live broadcasts is ill-timed and an ambush on the broadcasters.
MISA Malawi chairperson Teresa Ndanga in a statement said the ban is a deliberate ploy to limit media freedom and freedom of expression.
She noted that broadcasters were not informed about the need to use a delay machine or given a timeframe within which to acquire the delay machines.
“Otherwise, we feel the directive prohibiting live broadcasts is an ambush as none of the broadcasters MISA Malawi has spoken to knew about the regulations,” Ndanga said.