Malawi has finally migrated from analogue to digital television broadcasting with the first phase targeting Mzuzu City and Zomba in the Eastern part of the country.

The second phase which will target two major cities of Malawi (Blantyre and Mzuzu) is expected to take place in September.

The switching off exercise of Analogue happened on Tuesday mid-night.

The development means that television viewers in Zomba and Mzuzu who have not purchased decoders and GOtv will not be able to view TV channels in the country.

To support the migration exercise, Government through Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa has reduced prices of decoders from MK20, 000 to MK15, 000.

Speaking after the announcement, Nankhumwa said Digital broadcasting in the country has come to stay.

Last week, Opposition Members of Parliament asked the government to first sensitise the nation on the digital migration before fully implementing the exercise in the country, saying most Malawians are ignorant on the matter.

Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) Executive Director John Kapito also backed MPs’ call, saying government’s decision to immediately switch off the country’s analogue television broadcasting system to digital broadcasting as an infringement of consumer rights following the state’s failure to conduct enough sensitisation to ensure smooth transition.

Under the international Telecommunications Union (ITU) resolution, member countries are expected to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting by June 17, 2015.

The Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) designated December 31, 2013 as the date for digital switch-on for all its member states and Malawi set out on the migration journey in 2010 and switched on its digital television Network on December 31, 2013.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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