Information Minister launches digital television in Mzuzu

Minister of Information, Communications, Technology and Civic Education, Patricia Kaliati, has asked officials from Department of Civic Education to intensify awareness on digital migration ahead of the switch off from analogue to digital broadcasting in Mzuzu and its surrounding areas.

Malawi has migrated from analogue to digital broadcasting and Mzuzu will be the first to switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting on 30th June this year (2016).

Speaking Saturday at Mzuzu Upper Stadium during the launch of the Malawi Digital Television and digital decoders branded ‘Kiliye Kiliye’ Decoders, Kaliati said people need to be aware that come 1st July, 2016, they will not be able to watch television without the digital decoder as all analogue transmission equipment will be switched off.

“Let me ask officials to intensify awareness messages to the public so that they understand, embrace and adopt the change because come 1st July, we are going digital,” she said.

During the launch, which was spiced by live performance of the Kiliye Kiliye Digital theme song by Lucius Banda, Malawi National Dance Troupe and Young Africans, Kaliati announced the reduced price of the digital decoder from K15, 000 to K13, 500 to enable more Malawians purchase the decoder.

“We need to be an ICT and digital driven nation and everyone else must migrate. This is the reason government has subsidized the price to enable all Malawians afford the decoder,” she said.

She said from July 1 this year, government will work with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to make sure that all decoders that are not digital should not be found on the market or be imported into the country.

She, therefore, asked broadcasters who are on digital broadcasting to incorporate a cultural perspective as the president is championing the Buy- Malawian Campaign,

In her remarks, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Board Chairperson, Mervis Mangulenje, said Malawi viewers will benefit a lot from digital broadcasting as it promotes local development content.

Mangulenje said it is MACRA’s expectation that the broadcasters will make a deliberate attempt to adhere to their licenses provision where they will have to air 60 percent local content and 40 per cent foreign.

She therefore assured that MACRA shall continue to regulate the broadcasting services in accordance with the digital legal and regulatory framework.

Malawi is among the five countries that have been recognized by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to have migrated in the SADC countries joining Mauritius, Tanzania, Namibia and Mozambique.

The development is as a result of the resolution of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for SADC member countries to migrate to digital television broadcasting by 17th June 2015.

Malawi will be switching off in phases and Mzuzu will be the first to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Digital Migration Coordinator in the Ministry of Information, Communications, Technology and Civic Education, Gedion Munthali, said Mzuzu was found appropriate to be the first to migrate following a random survey which revealed that Mzuzu had fulfilled the three main variables that must be considered before the switch off.

The three variables are that there is a reliable digital signal, has a good uptake of decoders and that there was a fairly good level of awareness about digital migration.

The Malawi Digital Bouquet has 18 television channels that include Times, ABC, Luso, Luntha, Angaliba, Ufulu, Beta and tax-payers run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) among others.

SOURCE: Malawi News Agency