Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter has dragged to court the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) for suspending phone-in programs over the ongoing political tension.

MACRA suspended phone-in programs on all broadcasters on 7th June, 2019 on grounds that some broadcasters were encouraging political violence through their programs.

Misa Malawi through its Chairperson Teresa Temweka Ndanga engaged MACRA on matter so that the body can overturn its decision but this move proved futile.

Due to this development, MACRA has sort an intervention from the High Court and the case is expected to commence on September 16, 2019.

Ndanga confirmed of the development in a statement released on Tuesday made available to faceofmalawi reporter.

“The Chapter has partnered Times, Zodiak and Capital Radio seeking the Court’s declaration that the decision of MACRA violates constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press, among other rights, and that the procedure followed in making the decision was improper as no consultations were made with affected parties as required by law.

“The matter was filed at the High Court, Lilongwe Registry, on 2nd September, 2019,” said Ndanga in the statement.

She added: “The Court has set aside 16th September, 2019 to hear the application for a temporary injunction stopping MACRA from implementing the decision pending a final (or other) decision of the Court.

“It remains our hope that MACRA will share our intention of amicably resolving the matter without resorting to litigation. We believe that, with the collaboration of all players in the media, we can as a nation create an environment that fosters healthy debate among citizens while at the same time ensuring that media houses remain true to their responsibility of maintaining expected standards.”

Meanwhile MACRA is yet to comment on the matter.

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