Map of Blantyre Malawi
Blantyre Malawi

BLANTYRE, MALAWI - Malawi's Constitutional Court on Friday put a stop to a government directive banning call-in shows.

The government accused broadcasters of careless and unethical coverage of protests following the disputed 2019 elections.

Presiding Judge Chifundo Kachale, on behalf of a three-judge panel, said the ban infringed on freedom of expression as guaranteed in Malawi’s Constitution.

The judge also said a regulatory authority didn’t consult broadcasters before the directive took effect.

Broadcasters called the ruling a victory for a free press and democracy.

Teleza Ndanga heads the Malawi press freedom group, Media Institute for Southern Africa, which championed the case challenging the “call-in show” ban.

“I had so much hope throughout the entire case,” Ndanga said. “I believed in the arguments that we had and the counsel that we got from our representation. So, it is quite relieving that they [the judges] agree with us and now media houses are quite free to continue with phone-in programs.”

Ndanga said she expects the ruling to stand even if it’s appealed.  “I strongly believe in in the argument that we put forward.”

Lawyers representing a government regulator told local radio station Zodiak that they are waiting to hear from their clients about a potential next move.