Malawi: Macra revokes Prophet Bushiri’s Rainbow TV license

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has revoked Rainbow Television’s television content license for material breach of non-payment of annual license fee.

In a press release on Friday, the license revocation of Rainbow TV – whose major shareholder is Prophet Shepherd Bushiri – came into effect 30 days from June 9, 2022.

“MACRA wishes to inform all licensees in the telecommunications, broadcasting and postal sectors that failure to pay the annual license fee constitutes a serious violation of their licenses and that they risk having their license revoked” , we read in the press release.

Confirming the development in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (MANA), MACRA’s Director of Communications, Zadziko Mankhambo, said Rainbow TV has flouted what is stipulated in the Communications Act which requires that TV broadcasters pay an annual license fee currently set at $5,000 (approximately K5.1 million).

“They have not done what is required of them as stipulated in the law, as such we have in effect revoked their license after failing to pay the annual fee which they last paid a year ago. six months,” Mankhambo said.

He further clarified that there was no ulterior motive behind the revocation as MACRA acted only on the basis of the powers conferred by the Communications Act.

Reacting to the news in a separate interview, Rainbow TV station manager Aubrey Kusakala blamed the payment delays on ownership disputes between major shareholder Prophet Bushiri and former owner Omar Kaisi.

“The Prophet Bushiri did not undertake to settle dues as a property [arrangements] of the station was not finished at the time, as such, after an agreement with MACRA, we agreed to pay them in instalments,” he said.

“We paid K4 million in December 2021 and also the same amount in February 2022. We have committed to finalize the remaining amount by May 31, but due to the current financial climate we have recently requested an extension. of 90 days which has not been answered.”

Kusakala further alleged that many TV houses are struggling to generate revenue and it is not just Rainbow TV that owes MACRA unpaid payments, others still have to settle larger remittances.

“Many media houses made their promises to MACRA during a meeting in Mangochi to which we were not invited. If we stop broadcasting, more than 80 employees supporting 400 households will be rendered destitute,” said he declared.

Comments are closed.