1 May 2014

Malawi Govt Spends K3.5 Billion for Digital Migration

Blantyre — Secretary for Information and Civic Education Luckie Sikwese says media in the country needs to write more stories on digital migration in order to inform the masses.

He said government has spent over K3 billion to implement it.

Sikwese said this during the opening Multichoice Malawi Digital Migration Media Conference which was held in Thyolo district.

Migration from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting was agreed to under the United Nations (UN) umbrella with a deadline of June, 2015.

It is, therefore, taking place across the world and some countries have already started using digital terrestrial broadcasting while others are still in the process of changing to digital.

Sikwese said government has made strides on digital migration, but observed that a lot has to be done in order to sensitize the masses on the new project.

"In Malawi, digital broadcasting will not only improve the consumers' TV experience in terms of better sound and picture quality but also will improve access to information to all people.

"There is need to prepare the public in order to understand the process in a good manner. The only good way to sensitize people on digital migration is through the media," Sikwese said.

He added: "Media is a critical partner when it comes to informing the public. Government alone cannot manage to do everything. Partnership is of most important for people to be educated."

Dennis Chirwa, digital migration coordinator at the ministry said government has to put in place relevant policies that will ensure smooth migration.

Chirwa said digital migration is important because under the current analogue terrestrial television, one frequency carried one programme channel, whereas Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) used one frequency to carry multiple programme channels thereby allowing for transmission of many television programmes using fewer frequencies and lower cost.

"The purpose of the policy is to ensure that migration from analogue to digital benefits the people and leads to more services and broader coverage.

"Government has spent K3.5 billion for the whole process and it is doing everything possible to ensure that it migrate before the June 17, 2015 deadline set by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and shift from analogue to digital television broadcasting," said Chirwa.

MultiChoice Malawi Marketing Manager, Chimwemwe Nyirenda, said it is the duty of his company to ensure that it complements government's effort.

Nyirenda said MultiChoice Malawi will do anything possible to sensitize the public about digital migration since his company is already on digital.

"Media is our partner that is why we have decided to invite it and brief them on digital migration process.

"We feel it is important to do so since we are always assured that the message that we have shared have gone to the right people," said Nyirenda.

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