Malawi: Miss-Malawi, Macra Face Off in Court - Judge Rule Friday On Phone in Program Ban

16 September 2019

High Court judge Richard Chinangwa is this Friday expected to lift a ban or not on radio and television phone-in programs, a ruling which will be closely monitored by rights activists and donors.

Journalists from various media houses on Monday turned to be newsmakers themselves at the High Court in Lilongwe as their media houses battled it out with Macra to lift phone-in radio and television programs.

Lawyers for Misa Malawi, who are representing the country's major broadcasters; Times Group, Zodiak and Capital Radio told judge Richard Chinangwa that the ban of the phone-in programs on radios and television by the Malawi Regulatory Communications Authority (Macra) was unconstitutional.

Lawyer for Misa Malawi John Suzi Banda gave precedencies in some countries, court rulings on how the courts removed such suspensions and bans.

The court also set up procedures on how the case should be heard substantively after the injunctions are removed.

The court heard that out of the 80 radio and television stations, Macra gave the order to two media houses only.

Misa Malawi chapter chairperson Theresa Ndanga said the decision of Macra violates constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press, among other rights, and that procedure followed in making the decision was improper as no consultations were made with affected parties as required by law.

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