Adventist Television awarded licence in Malawi


Last week the government of Malawi announced the licenses awarded to the first private television stations in the southern Africa nation. Adventist Television was among the seven awarded by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) as reported in The Daily Times of Blantyre.
Prior to this the only television available in the nation was the official, government broadcasting operation. A Christian television operation, Joy TV, previously went on the air without a license, according to Malawi Today. It was shut down by the government and its equipment confiscated. The case resulted in extended litigation and it is unclear if Joy TV will ever get a license.
The other television broadcasting licenses went to established media companies and a college. More are to be announced, said both newspapers. A number of radio station licenses were announced at the same time by Moses Kunkuyu, the cabinet minister responsible for information and civic education. Short wave radio is used throughout Africa which means that people are used to international broadcasters such as the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), which has an extensive staff of journalists in Africa and the rest of the world.
The new television stations have 12 months to complete their vetting by MACRA and set up operations. This includes both program production, importing the transmitter and construction of the necessary facilities. Those not on the air within 12 months will lose their licenses. MACRA received a total of 36 applications, stated The Daily Times.
There are nearly 400,000 members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Malawi out of a population of 16 million. The number of adherents is estimated to be nearly one million. The denomination has had an eight percent annual growth rate in recent years, about four times the rate in North America. It has 2,846 local congregations and operates 19 community health clinics, six secondary schools and two hospitals, Blantyre Adventist Hospital and Adventist Health Center Lilongwe. An Adventist publishing house and seminary are also located in the country.

The new television stations have 12 months to complete their vetting by MACRA and set up operations.