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Malawi Media, Telecommunications and Internet

Media landscape

The government-critical daily The Nation and the New Government-oriented Daily Times as well as the weekly Malawi News and Sunday Times provide information on the current domestic political situation. The sometimes controversial internet newspapers Nyasa Times, Maravi Post and Maravi Express, which also have forums, offer interesting content. The press review of, the website “einnews”, the portal Online Newspapers, which provides a list of links to all online newspapers in Malawi, and the newsletter, which appears several times a year, offer further interesting sources of information by Scotland-Malawi Partnership.

On Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index, published in April 2020, Malawi ranks 69th out of 180 (previous year 68th out of 180), a slight deterioration for the country on the index. The country ranks just behind Japan, for example, but still well ahead of the EU members Malta, Hungary and Bulgaria. The freedom of the press is guaranteed constitutionally, but critical journalists and media houses were under the Bingu wa Mutharika administration frequent government repression exposed, such as the exclusion from government advertising business. Sometimes newspaper publishers are also targeted the tax authorities, such as the Times Group, the second largest newspaper publisher (Daily Times, Malawi News) in early June 2018. The closing order was suspended by the court. In October 2019, the largest newspaper publisher Nation Publications Ltd. (The Nation). The main office in Blantyre has been temporarily closed at the request of the tax authorities. The newspaper could still appear. High tax back payments can seriously jeopardize the mostly thin capital base of newspapers. There are currently only minor violations of the freedom of the press.

In addition, there has been a state television station (TV Malawi) and two state radio stations from the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation since 1999. In recent years, several private radio stations, such as Radio Zodiak, have gone on the air, but only with a local broadcasting radius. In October 2007, the first private television station, Joy TV, owned by Bakili Muluzi, went on the air, but had to cease operations shortly afterwards because the state regulator contested the validity of the license. In 2009 the broadcaster applied for a new license, which was finally granted in October 2012. He’s been on the air ever since. The state broadcasters are controlled by the government. In April 2012 Joyce Banda has a change of course proclaimed. The state broadcasters should now also be open to the opposition, but this was not fully implemented. To this day, the state radio and TV stations are seen as organs of the respective government.

With the appointment of the owner of the important private media company Zodiak, Gospel Kazako, as Minister of Information for the Chakwera government (July 2020) and the enticing of well-known critical journalists into the government camp, the independent media may have been weakened.

A press law perceived as repressive, which was pushed through parliament by the Mutharika government in February 2011 against protests by the media, civil society and donors, was repealed by the same in May 2012. The press coverage of the 2014 elections was the subject of a study. In mid-February 2017, the President put a Freedom of Information Act passed by Parliament in December 2016 into force. Such a law had already been announced by the three previous governments, but not implemented. The law was particularly welcomed by the press and non-governmental organizations.

Telecommunications and Internet

According to neovideogames, the Internet is still widespread in Malawi than in neighboring countries. UNDP estimates that just under 14% of residents (at the beginning of 2019) have access to the Internet. This is also due to the poor infrastructure. The leading internet provider is MalawiNet. While most institutions and companies, but not primary schools and only a few secondary schools, have Internet access, there are so far only relatively few private users. Frequent power outages make it difficult to use. There are two mobile phone providers: TNM and Airtel, which also offer internet usage contracts (also prepaid). There are various packages that are based on the data volume and / or runtime.

On-site internet access has improved significantly recently. Mobile Internet is widespread among the urban middle and upper classes and also enables conversations about e.g. B. Skype or WhatsApp. These are increasingly displacing the relatively expensive mobile phone service. There are only a few internet cafes left in the towns of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu. The big hotels have W-LAN connection ready for their guests, which is usually free for house guests. In rural areas, on the other hand, mobile internet is still not widely used. In international comparison, the costs for mobile telephony are very high in relation to purchasing power.

Only 19 out of 1,000 Malawians have a landline telephone connection (2016), while the number of mobile phone customers is 20 times as high with 400 out of 1,000 Malawians (2018).

Calling Malawi

Currently (as of November 2020) cheapest offer:

01015 11.0 cents per minute to a landline connection

010058 29.9 cents per minute to a mobile phone (cheaper tariffs often do not work)

00265 + 1 + six-digit connection number (landline)

00265 + nine-digit connection number (Mobile phone)

Since prices change regularly, it is advisable to take a look at the tariff calculator.

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