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Malawi: Radio Station Shut Down

(Nov. 26, 2008) According to a press release from the Media Institute of Southern Africa, headquartered in Windhoek, Namibia, on November 20, 2008, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) closed down a radio station for the second time. Joy Radio was ordered to stop broadcasting for failing to comply with provisions of Malawi's Communications Act. The station was originally shut down in October 2008, but it obtained an injunction against MACRA which allowed it to resume activities. The recent action followed a November 19, 2008, decision of the High Court in Blantyre, Malawi's largest city, lifting the injunction against MACRA. The ruling in favor of lifting the injunction was handed down by High Court Judge Joseph Manyungwa and permits MACRA to implement its decision to close Joy Radio. The head of news operations at the station, Lloyd Zawanda, said that the station has referred the issue to its lawyers and might appeal the recent decision.

The recent series of events follows disputes in 2007 between MACRA and Joy Radio, including a successful effort by the station to have the High Court of Malawi nullify the composition of MACRA at the time as illegal and not in accord with provisions of the same Communications Act. For its part, MACRA uprooted television equipment for a planned Joy Television station on the grounds that the broadcaster's license did not permit it to have both a TV and a radio station. (Press Release, Media Institute of Southern Africa, Radio Station Shut Down for a Second Time (Nov. 21, 2003), available at