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Joy Radio allowed to resume broadcasting

(MISA/IFEX) - Joy Radio station resumed broadcasting on 16 December 2008, 30 days after the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) revoked its broadcasting license for non-compliance with the Communications Act and its licence agreement.

The resumption of broadcasting came after the Supreme Court of Appeal reinstated an injunction obtained on 17 October by Joy Radio which restrained the MACRA from revoking the radio station's broadcasting licence. The MACRA challenged the injunction and it was struck down by a High Court judge on 19 November.

When delivering the verdict in his chamber, Justice Singini said he had reinstated the injunction pending a judicial review hearing on the matter.

"I must therefore consider the judicial review matter as being part of the totality of the circumstances of the case before me," the judge said.

In the judicial review, Joy Radio is asking the court to quash the decision by MACRA to have its licence revoked. Justice Singini observed that the discharge of the injunction has the same effect as the decision of MACRA terminating the radio licence.

"In (this) case, the discharge of the injunction has the same effect as the decision of the respondent terminating the applicant's licence in that it has, in the result, stopped the applicant from operating under the licence. That decision of the respondent is the very subject of the impending judicial review," the judge said.

He however cautioned Joy Radio, saying reinstatement of the injunction was not a licence for wrongdoing in the period pending determination of the judicial review proceedings.

"The licensee under the Act, is under the legal, indeed statutory, obligation at all times to comply with the requirements of (the) act," Justice Singini said.

He also added that as a matter of public interest, the Communications Act represents an important public policy framework, and as such observed that it was important for the licensed service providers to comply with requirements of the law under the Act.

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