BLANTYRE (AFP) — Malawian authorities said Saturday they had closed
a private radio station recently taken over by former president Bakili
Muluzi as it breached a law barring politicians from owning
"We have revoked the license of Joy radio with
immediate effect because it flouted regulations," James Chimera, acting
head of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, told AFP.
said Joy Radio had originally registered as a private independent radio
station, but "handed over ownership of the station to politicians which
is against the law."
"Malawi laws bar politicians or political
parties from owning radio stations, but Joy Radio Limited is wholly
owned by the Muluzi family and the former president himself chairs its
board," he said.
The station was opened by former Tanzanian
president Benjamin Mkapa shortly before Muluzi retired as president in
2004 after two consecutive terms.
Broadcast regulators and the
government of President Bingu wa Mutharika often accuse Joy of running
inflamatory programmes against the administration.
The radio station has become Muluzi's main propaganda machine, hitting back at campaigns against him in state radio.
who owns vast commercial interests from real estate to transport, has
been chosen by his former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) to stand
again for president in general elections set for May 19.
handed over power to his chosen successor Mutharika in 2004, after he
failed to amend the constitution to allow him to stand for a third
But Mutharika has turned against his one-time mentor, ditching the UDF to form his own Democratic Progressive Party.