December 10, 2008

No Joy in Malawi Radio Closure

Malawi has closed an independent radio station said to be lauded for its contribution to free speech and civic information.

The Nyasa Times reports that the Joy FM radio station is accused of violating a federal law that prohibits broadcast licenses from being issued to any entity “which is of a party-political nature.”

Although the newspaper claims that Joy FM lacks any party affiliation, a report in Malawi’s Daily Times newspaper notes that the station’s holding company, Atupele Properties, is owned by former President Bakili Muluzi and his wife.

Although the Nyasa Times hailed Joy FM for exposing government corruption, failed policy and rights abuses, comments on the newspaper’s Web site questioned that claim, said other stations had greater credibility, and that political conflict between the current and former presidents was the real issue.

Malawi’s private media sector is considered by many to be a valuable government watchdog.

Some other independent radio station owners reported being intimidated by threats of closure from the State House Press Officer, though the Nyasa Times did not confirm this.

–Lauren Riggs, Newsdesk.org

Sources:

“Joy FM back in court on Dec 15”
The Daily Times (Malawi), December 3, 2008

“Joy FM closure- threat to Malawi press freedom, human rights”
Nyasa Times (Malawi), December 2, 2008

3 thoughts on “No Joy in Malawi Radio Closure

  1. You forgot to mention that JOY RADIO is owned by the ex-president of the country BAKILI MULUZI who is actually seeking reelection. SO the station, though independent it has some political motives.
    And the author of the Nyasa Times article has always supported Mr Muluzi and he has publicly declared that he will do everything in his power to encourage his fellow Malawians to reelect the UDF and Muluzi.

  2. Hello Kai … take another look, we do identify Muluzi’s role right there in paragraph three.

    Thanks for watching out for us!

    Josh Wilson
    Editor * Newsdesk.org

  3. You have already said that the station is owned by the former president and everything that this radio broadcast is intimdation to the president and his goverment so it was not to close the station even you are to blame for hailing the radion which intimdate the government.