The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) joined the rest of the world in commemorating the 2019 World Standards Day. The day, which is commemorated each year on the 14th October, was this year commemorated on the 18thOctober, 2019 in Malawi at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre. The day was set to pay tribute to the efforts of thousands of experts worldwide who collaborate within the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to develop standards that facilitate trade, spread knowledge and share technological advances. The theme for this year’s World Standards Day was “Video Standards Create a Global Stage“. In connection to this year’s theme, the MBS invited various stakeholders to the function. The Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA), Angaliba Television and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) were part of the commemoration and made presentations centering on the theme.
MACRA’s representative, Mr. Zadziko Mankhambo presented on the topic; “Digital Transition Revolutionizes Malawi Television Industry”. He said that the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting follows a resolution of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Regional Radio Communication Conference (RRC-16) held in 2006 in Geneva in Switzerland. “The Geneva directive required member countries to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting by
17th June, 2015. As SADC, the migration was shortened to December, 2014 and Malawi migrated in December, 2013”, he said.
On his part, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) representative, Mr. Aidan Gumeni said that video standards ensure compatibility and interoperability.“If there can be a standard that can be recognized across the world that means video encoded on one device can be decoded by another regardless of the device that is being used”, he said.
Angaliba Television Chief Executive Officer, Dr Rodrick Mulonya, advised that while Malawi is trying to meet the international video standards, it is also necessary to make sure that as a country, we are not running away from our culture. He mentioned that it is the role of videographers to produce videos that has an element of Malawi culture. “As Angaliba Television, we give ninety percent of our programming to local content to allow our viewers to appreciate the Malawian culture. Our children need to know their culture and I would have loved to see the cartoon programs having that cultural element”, he said.
Commenting on the theme, the guest of honour who is also the MBS Director General, Mr. Symon O. Mandala said that videos play a bigger role in tourism, advertising, movies and music industries; hence there was a need to follow standards. “If you check other countries, they have done well in promoting issues of tourism, and we watch that on Cable News Network (CNN) and other international televisions. That is possible because they are using material that is acceptable in the international arena”, he said. He emphasized that there was a need to allow students to take part in the commemoration so that they can understand and have knowledge of standards. The Director General also mentioned that the MBS is greatly concerned with those people and manufacturing companies who are not complying with the standards. “It is very sad to note that some of those who are not complying with the standards are the shops that we have much trust on”, he said. Furthermore, the Director General also said that failing to comply with standards endangers consumer’s rights since the products may become poisonous.
Lastly, he warned all the manufacturing companies to make sure that their products are well labeled; otherwise the MBS will expose them to the public. To the consumers,he reminded them that they should pay great attention when buying goods and that they should not buy goods that they are not sure of their expiry dates.
This year’s World Standards Day commemoration was spiced up by Chichiri Prison Dance Troupe.