The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has revoked the Television broadcast license for Rainbow Television after failing to pay its annual license fees.
According to the regulator, the revocation of the license for Rainbow TV is effective for 30 days from June 9, 2022.
In a statement released by MACRA, the regulator said, “We wish to advise all licensees in the Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Postal sectors that failure to pay annual license fees is a serious breach of their licenses, and thus running the risk of having their licenses revoked.”
Commenting on the matter, Zadziko Mankhambo, MACRA’s Communication Manager, said Rainbow TV has defied what is stipulated in the Communications Act, which requires TV broadcasters to pay an annual fee of US$5,000.
“Rainbow TV has failed to do what is required of them as stipulated in the Act, for this reason, we have revoked their license as they have failed to pay the annual license fee, which they last paid six months ago,” Mankhambo added.
Mankhambo further explained that there was no covert motive behind the decision as MACRA has only acted upon the authority vested in the Communications Act.
According to Rainbow TV Station Manager Aubrey Kusakala, the backlog of payments was due, in the main, to ownership battles between the major shareholder Prophet Bushiri and former owner Omar Kaisi.
“Prophet Bushiri was in no position to settle the fees, as ownership agreements of the station were not yet complete. We have, however, reached a consensus with MACRA to pay the fees in instalments,” he explained.
“We paid US$3,919 in December 2021 and the same amount in February 2022. We committed to finalising the remaining amount by 31st May, but due to current financial strain, we asked the regulator for an extension of 90 days, of which we are still waiting for a response.”