MACRA cautions radios on phone-in programmes

By Yamikani Sabola

Mzuzu, March 27: Director of Broadcasting for Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Zadziko Mankhambo has asked radio stations to exercise caution when handling radio phone-in programmes, warning that they risk regulatory sanctions if they fail to do so.

Speaking on Wednesday during World Radio Day commemoration in Mzuzu, Mankhambo noted that some elements hijack the programmes to spread misinformation or sow hatred.

Mankhambo said radio stations are answerable to MACRA for anything aired on their programmes, including what is said by participants for phone-in programmes.

“We encourage provision of platforms such as phone-in programmes to allow listeners to speak out on topical issues in the country. However, remember that if you cannot control views that cannot be palatable to the general public then you should not entertain those programmes.

“Anchors for such programmes should be able to control what is coming in because as a broadcaster, you are liable to anything that is said in your programmes and you cannot attribute it to a particular contributor,” Mankhambo said.

He however said Malawi has made commendable progress in broadcasting as the country now has 90 licensed broadcasters, including community radio stations.

In his remarks, MACRA Board member Alekeni Menyani said the FM re-farming exercise, which MACRA has implemented recently, stands as a testament to government’s commitment to enhance broadcasting services in the country.

“By optimizing infrastructure and promoting spectrum efficiency, we as an Authority aim to elevate the quality of broadcasting across the country. Despite challenges faced during implementation, we remain resolute in our pursuit of excellence,” Menyani said.

Acting Deputy Executive Secretary for UNESCO, David Mulera, hailed community radios in the country for amplifying voices of rural communities, promoting locally generated content and addressing unique information needs of diverse populations.

Global theme for this year’s World Radio Day commemoration was ‘A century of informing, entertaining and educating’ while locally the day was observed under the theme ‘Radio: a true companion for years in informing, entertaining and educating’.

The commemoration started with a big walk from Shoprite Roundabout to MACRA regional offices in Mzuzu City.

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