Posted by: APO | 21 July 2010

MACRA, media committee bang heads over review of Communications Act


MACRA, media committee bang heads over review of Communications Act


LILONGWE, Malawi, July 21, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) on 19 July 2010 has brought together media managers and parliamentary committee on Media and Communications to review the country’s Communications Act.


The current Act, which was enacted in 1998, has several shortfalls and fails to address innovations and products that have sprouted recently such as the internet.


Speaking at a Communications Act review workshop in Mangochi, Southern Malawi, MACRA’s Director General Charles Nsaliwa said the regulatory body was doing everything possible to ensure that the country’s penetration rates of Information Communications Technology (ICT) was on the rise.


“Every ten percent achieved in ICT penetration contributes to one percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increase. Therefore as MACRA, we will ensure that ICT penetration is increased through… telephone, mobile phone and internet service across the country with the aim of contributing to GDP growth,” he said.


Speaking at the same workshop, the guest of honor Leckford Thotho, who is also the country’s Minister of Information and Civic Education, said the revised Communications Act aims at bringing aboard new ICT products and services that came into operation after the current Act was enacted in 1998.


“We believe the review of the Communications Act will realize government’s vision of converting Malawi into an ICT nation,” he said.


The review of the Act comes after years of efforts by media managers and other commentators for the Act to be reviewed arguing that several clauses are not media friendly.


Enacted in November 1998, the Act provides for, among others, regulation and provision of services in the communications sector comprising telecommunications, posts and broadcasting; the establishment of an independent regulatory authority, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and the restructuring of the Malawi Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (MPTC) into separate telecommunications and postal business.



Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)


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