By Rose Mahorya
Mzuzu, August 20, Mana: Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Gospel Kazako, has challenged community radio stations to be creative in generation of funds for their survival.
He made the remarks when he visited Tuntufye and Dinosaur radio stations in Karonga District on Wednesday.
He said as much as community radio stations do not have a huge funding base, better programming and cultivation of good partnership with stakeholders can earn the more.
“We will help community radio stations build capacity on how to sustain themselves financially.
We are also going to encourage them to pay levy to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) for them to be eligible to apply for grants from the authority’s grants fund,” he said.
While applauding community radio stations for their civic educating role on rural masses, Kazako asked broadcasters to be responsible communicators because what they say on air has potential to build or destroy a community and the country at large.
Macra Director General, Henry Shamu, concurred with Kazako stating that most community radio stations are struggling because of their failure to pay the levy and hence not qualifying for the grant.
“The levy compliance rate by all communication institutions could roughly be put at 70 percent, but most community radio stations are not among those who pay the levy and therefore do not qualify to apply for the grant.
“Currently the fund has about K3.2 billion and if more levy is paid, the figure would rise, translating to wider opportunities for the players including the community radio stations,” he said.
Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga said the minister’s visit was an opportunity for government to appreciate services of community radios in the district to the advantage of listeners.