Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has advised Northern Region community radio stations on the need of acquiring licenses which will permit them to migrate from analogue to digital transmissions.

Macra Acting Director of Legal Services Daniel Chiwoni was speaking Thursday at Mzuzu Hotel when he briefed community radio broadcasters on the advantages of using modern broadcasting technology.

Chiwoni said by looking at current technology advancement at global level, Malawi has taken a step by issuing digital operation licenses to some broadcasters.

“We have engaged our broadcasters on a new licensing framework that we already introduced. We want all the broadcasters to migrate from old to the new licensing regime also known as converged licensing framework (CLF).

“This licensing regime has come about because of advancement in technology that has facilitated the development of communication infrastructure which support both electronic and traditional broadcasting services,” said Chiwoni.

Macra has given a two- year grace period for the community radio broadcasters to get digital operation licenses.

He further said the broadcasters will be required to pay one per cent as levy annually to Macra which will assist in covering the costs of regulating the sector in monitoring the broadcasters.

“This levy is not specifically new. Our friends in telecommunications have been paying this levy since Macra was established and every player in the information, communication technology (ICT) industry is supposed to comply,” Chiwoni said.

He added that the levy is basically to cover costs of regulating the sector in monitoring the broadcasters and will also contribute to Universal Service Fund.

Director of Radio Tigawane Father Eugen Ngoma hailed Macra for briefing the community radio broadcasters on the benefits for migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Parliament passed the New Communications Act in 2016