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Two individuals arrested for allegedly operating illegal radio station, face heavy fine or possible imprisonment

(MISA/IFEX) - 11 January 2010 - Police in the Kasungu district have arrested two men on suspicion that they were operating a radio station without a licence from the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), the country's communications regulatory body.

This is the second time in four months the police have closed down a pirate radio station, the first one being Pachikweza Radio, located in Soza Village, Mulanje district, in the southern part of Malawi.

The police publicist for the central region, John Namalenga, said the suspects, Anthony Masiku (29) and Francis Chapotera (30), were allegedly operating a radio station known as Rhodes FM around the border between the Kasungu and Dowa districts in central Malawi. The police further said the two suspects were broadcasting advertisements, football commentaries and condolence messages. The police have confiscated microphones, a transmitter and cassette tapes from the premises of the alleged radio station.

Should the two suspects be convicted, they will either be fined MK300,000 (approx. US$2,140) or risk ten years in prison with hard labour.

In October 2009, the police arrested Gabriel Kondesi (21) for operating a radio station without a license. Sympathisers, however, came to his rescue and got him out of jail. Kondesi has since enrolled at the Kaphuka private school after he was given a scholarship to continue with his studies.

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