Malawi moves to control social media: Facebook, Whatsapp abusers face severe punishment

Following President Peter Mutharika’s recent remarks against the country’s use of social media, government has disclosed it  has  drafted new cyber laws to regulate social media in the country.

Jappie Mhango:  Social media should promote positive citizenship not defamtory gossips or coup plots

Jappie Mhango: Social media should promote positive citizenship not defamtory gossips or coup plots

Malawi moves to regulate social media usage

Malawi moves to regulate social media usage

Information minister Jappie Mhango has said a bill that will be coming up in parliament soon to regulate the social media provides for stiff punishment for abusers of the media.

In a guided and calculated interview with state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Mhango said the aim of the bill is to ensure that people use the social media as a melting point to discuss developmental issues.

The minister and the interviewer were indirectly suggesting Malawi Congress Party  (MCP) publicist Jessie Kabwila, MCP legislator Peter Chakwantha and MCP member Ulemu Msungama currently answering treason and sedition charges, abused Whatsapp chat facility when they discussed a wide range of political, economic and social issues.

“This is a big concern to us. A lot of people are abusing Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others,” said Mhango in the MBC interview.

Opposition members of parliament have on several occasions made scathing attacks on the tax payers funded broadcaster, the MBC of working for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party  (DPP) as its propaganda radio leaving out its role as a public broadcaster.

Mutharika recently revealed his concern over the use of social media in his southern African country, saying Malawi was becoming too reliant on social media.

picture of Mutharika falling at a tree planting ceremony in Lilongwe went viral on Facebook and Twitter a few weeks ago, with people speculating he was ill.

The Nyasa Times reported  recently that Mutharika urged citizens not to embrace negativity and to stop spreading false rumours about leaders and other citizens.

The President used the example of a recent case whereby social media users grasped onto a false story about a banker in Bangwe Township who was believed to have killed his spouse.

“I heard the story of the banker who was said to have killed his wife and it was just a lie,” Mutharika was quoted as saying.

The government spokesman stressed the need for a new law to regulate social media to curb malicious and defamatory messages.

He said in the present era of internet and social media,  criminal provisions for online defamation has become more relevant.

Mhango said people should not be given free hand to run malicious campaign on social media and a law should is necessary to curb the “misuse” of social media.

How much the upcoming laws could come handy in ensuring that contamination via social media platforms is kept to the minimum while at the same time dealing with cyber criminals—both real and imaginary—is yet to be seen, but one thing that is almost certain is that the government is setting itself a mammoth, if not insurmountable, task.

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96 thoughts on “Malawi moves to control social media: Facebook, Whatsapp abusers face severe punishment”

  1. mama says:

    useless government

  2. kaDausi says:

    You don’t have the capacity of China to firewall the country from all internet traffic. Which means you can’t manage to stop people discussing whatever they like on the internet. If you want us to talk good (patriotic as you aspire) start acting good yourselves, like Bingu did up to 2009.

    Otherwise stop wasting your time with all that nonsense. Iwe Dausi tinakuuza kale kuti siungatithe pano pa internet. Or chabwino tadzandimangetu, nanga uzingokhalira kusokosa, ala! Zonsezo zikuchokera kwa kaDausi, kachitsiru.

  3. Idiots says:

    I will not be muzzled or gagged, freedom of speech in any form is my God given right.

  4. David says:

    this is dictatorship at its best. Do we really need to go backwards? Are you serious? Instead of concentrating on the problems Malawi is going through surely you talk about this? This country has really gone to the dogs. Indeed we have no leader. The car we have boarded has no driver. We are being led by a clueless president. Come on Mr, develop the country, feed the people, provide medicines in the hospitals, improve people,s lives, improve the education system, build better roads, improve security, the list goes on and on. Media is the best thing that can help you to become more wiser. This is the only way you can hear people,s plight, their silent tears and you will be able to find ways of improving the status of the country. Your so called advisors will only tell you lies. Wake up Mr President and listen if you are to win in the next election.

  5. Mapwevupwevu says:

    Cant happen! Tell them to stop wasting our precious time discussing this stupidity!

  6. Mbani says:

    I will tell Chingola to punish u

  7. #MATHANYULAMUSTFALL

  8. Malawian Citizen says:

    Dictatorship at its best

  9. beje says:

    sometimes our leaders do NOT THINK ! Opposition this is another trash from government show them that you are the next government. a word of advice to GOVERNMENT SIDE MPS. zomangovomereza zili zonse mudzamva nazo kuwawa timaudindo tanuto tikatha u shud know its not permanent . ZIKOMO!!!!!

  10. Che makwemba says:

    Anthu sadzasiya kuyakhula mpaka mutalongosola

  11. Nathan says:

    Kodi Jappie chimatanthawuzanji? Wina anandiwuza kuti Jappie ndi manyi omaliza kapena ka mchimba komaliza.

  12. babazula says:

    Choka PITALA

  13. The Partriot says:

    APM said he would veto any bill trimming Presidential powers. Am sure he would be more than happy to sign a bill restricting the use of whatsapp or social media. Koma ali mmadzi, opposition will veto any bill that infringes on our basic right of freedom of expression! Govt is monopolising the tax payer funded MBCTV , the people own social media and we know the govt reads our comments and they know how angry the populace is about the economy, hunger situation and the cluelessness of APM et al.
    Malawians fought very hard for these freedoms in 1994 while APM, Goodall and Chaponda were in posh western capitals sipping wine. Nkw these mtchonas have come back to enjoy our freedom and bring us back to dictatorship? Kupanda a Malawi fighting for multiparty democracy, bwenzi APM atabwelera ku Malawi? Mmene amauopela Kamuzu anthu amenewa!!

  14. nyasi mmaso says:

    please ife mtengano wanuwo ayi. Hw many will be arrested by saying the trueth.

    Mukakonza zinthu anthu azikuyamikilani pa social media koma ngati simukonza nkumanamiza mtundu wa Amalawi nde sitizaleka kudzudzula. A MBC TV anuwo alazanena zoona kuti a President anagwa, a president zinthu zuwavuta kuyendetsa boma. Anthu akugona mu Admarc coz maize kulibe. Ife tizasiya kulemba pa FB

  15. timo kammawa says:

    yes!let itbe done,that will be an agent of exit.

  16. Alungwana says:

    You can shut down the media BUT you cant shut up the truth that you are the poorest leadership Malawi has never have.

  17. MAVUTO says:

    Access to Informaton bill ija itheka apa?
    shammmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. chawaka says:

    is tarnishing other people s names freedom of expression???!!!!

  19. Lets take our country back says:

    Oh really, now the government has the money to train people in computer and cyber forensics yet they can’t provide food for 2.3 million?????………..shit!

  20. Chatty Man says:

    Sorry Mr president I think am missing something in here!

  21. Chilungamo Chimawawa says:

    atombolombo awa zawavuta ndithu! kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk thwy are now running out of ideas! hang yourself!!!!!

  22. Chilungamo Chimawawa says:

    mr idiot president, why can you concentrate on solving economic crisis facing malawi due to your bad leadership. instead you are busy planning to bring stupid laws. i tell you, it will not work oh!

  23. Mapwiya says:

    Those are kicks of a dying horse. DPP is a titanic about to sink. I know you dont have relevant laws to prosecute those MCP gurus that are alleged to plot coup on WhatsApp messenger. That’s why you want to enact those laws in order to prosecute these and other equally innocent Malawians. You mean Police we be intercepting and reading private messages? Really that is an insult to those who risked their lives and voted for change in 1993. This is not the Malawi we fought for. Malawi is now a Police state and we are slowly sliding into dictatorship.

    If you were patroitic enough you could have tabled Access to Information bill in its original form.Why changing it? I know you are afraid of being haunted by your skeletons the K577 billion you stole from government coffers.

  24. Legacies says:

    Are we in Stone Age with autocratic rule ? Hon Jappie is a mouth piece of distraction and a poor communicator not fit for ministry of information. Malawi voted for democracy where freedom of speech is universal now this oppressive nature wants to suppress the truth.

  25. MLOWOKA says:

    Am Mhango.Our surname is being tarnished because of this guy.Iam ashamed .Because of Love of money,he has destroyed our principals which are integrity, honesty and love for our brothers and sisters.Jappie you are a disgrace.Are you out of your mind?Have you forgotten that you come from a region that can discredit politicians due to insane political behaviours like you are showing.Let me remind you .Chakufwa chihana,Mwelekete kaluwa,Peter Mwanza,Dada Gondwe Goodal showed the same manifestations and they fell out of touch with northerners.Why?They supported ideals that were not compatible with society.They were selfish and wrongly thought that because they had positions,whatever they did whether bad or good people would still support or vote for them.You would be safe if you were from southern region because fools have been voted back to positions and are surviving.I swear, you have severely damaged your reputation .I hate having voted for you.

  26. chibweya joe says:

    Amenyo ndiye Malawi. One issue after another until when? Jow can we progress like this? The same laws we jointly fought for their restoration we now want break. Malaei Malawi eeesh

  27. Kenkkk says:

    Dictators, thugs these dpp thieves. You want malawi to be like that despotic country called North Korea. Or your friend Chinese govt which bans Internet social media criticisms and accessibility to its citizens.

    That law bill will Not pass parliament in its current form. I forgot paja you bribe your already stupid thieving MPs.

    If someone is aggrieved on Internet social Media, you just sue the offender. No need to ban them.

    We don’t want North Korea backwardness and dictatorship in malawi.

    People criticize their leaders in the west in any places and openly and they don’t get arrested. Yet you thugs you arrest kids just for showing dissent about the president in public or for discussing in public about the president. What kind of democratic society are we creating in malawi. Yes bwana yes bwana, that is for bootlickers southern ignorants.

    Yet this is the president who has spent most of his adult life in the west but still behaving like a savage dictator. Shame.

  28. Zidura Ntengo Undigwere says:

    It’s about time alright the government brought some semblance of order to the social media in our country. We can’t afford lies and innuendo; and most of us are or should be, in any case, in survival mode. Kulima m’munda (Get busy with productive farming.)
    Many of us just get on these platforms to show off, or worse, to plan sabotage (ref. to Kabwila-Kapasula et al.)

  29. MalawiAnatha says:

    Very stupid leaders… Empty heads… Foolish…. I wish I was alshabab with a mission to wipe out this useless team. I regret casting my vote for these foolish… Go to hell

  30. Peeping lizard says:

    Mukulephera kukonzekera njala yachaka chammawa,busy ndi fb watsapp,u tube.anthu olephera inu koma khanza

  31. Joloza says:

    Thats a sign of a failed government. They have run of ideas. They live in the dark ages

  32. wadabwa says:

    Uku ndiye kupezelelana tsopano

  33. MalawiAnatha says:

    That’s why we will always be mediocre.. Go on the internet,check what blogs, videos even news are said about the likes of Obama..do they care? No!! Do they address each and any of the stuff said by anyone?? No!!

    Meanwhile in Malawi this is causing sleepless night to a person in power???? SHAME!!! This clearly shows that OUR govt has its focus on petty and mediocre things!

    Muntharika and your friends go to work!!!! Work for the people!! Encourage people to change mindset that whatever you are doing is for everyone regardless of the party / tribe etc.. Let your work speak for itself..!!! You cannot progress if you are too occupied with everything barking your way!!!!

    This clearly shows the type of leadership we have in Malawi.. MEDIOCRE, NOT AMBITIOUS, LAZY, CORRUPT AND ABOVE ALL STUPID!

  34. Mjomba Wangalusa says:

    I think you are just wasting time for nothing; Problem of nduna zokulira ku shamba hahahaha

  35. wadzana. says:

    Oh ooo! Where will be freedom of expression Mhango? Dictatorship or Demokalase.

  36. Original Northerner says:

    you must be very useless, why are you taking us backward? most of you DPP brainless leaders were not there when we fought for freedom of speech in this country in 1992 including your president. Mungoyelekeza muone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Agwenyengwe inu

  37. frank Lomosi says:

    mmm koma abwana muziganiza

  38. Green card says:

    The prison will be full of brave northeners , that is a region where you can get brave people. APM should construct many prisons more than what we have this time. Northeners will keep on fighting for the freedom , don’t think that people are scared of being arrested at all.

    I know that APM want to zip the mouths for Malawians which he wound not manage , he should expect Malawians to die for their country. After all who is he to tell Malawians to start fearing him like a small god ?

  39. john phiri says:

    stupid, before that bill is out of parliament, dpp is out of government

  40. truth be told says:

    No sense government. Just admit that you have failed Malawians.

  41. Achakulungwa says:

    Nde mumanga tonse anthu tili mudziko muno.

  42. Mulhomwe Wankulu says:

    Jappie usathe mawu kamba koti ili ndi dziko…mawa muzakhala inu panthawi yomwe mutazakhale kunja kwa boma. Musazati olamula akukuzunzani ayi, wanva galu iwe!!!

  43. chibwe says:

    Fon yanga airtime yanga, magetsi olipira ndekha ndiye muzindiuza zoti ndizilemba pa fb ? Marabish

  44. MLOMWE says:

    muyelekeze that will be your downfall mwatasatu tiyeni tikuonelani mwasala mazi amozi paja ikakondwatu amalonda alipafupi

  45. Dictator says:

    Surely but slowly Malawi is slowly drifting back to one party state thanks to voting people into high positions who never participated in the 6th June 1993 Referendum.

  46. Zondiwe says:

    Severe censorship does not augur well with a democratic constitution. Only in a dictatorship do you punish people for speaking their mind.
    If the Bangwe story was false, well and good. What if it was true?
    There are mechanisms of sieving truth from falsehood, and treason, arrests and severe punishments are not the response. Our people went through hell on earth under the MCP dictatorship and Jappie should not be in the forefront in bringing back the bad old days. We got rid of repression in the 1992 Referendum, and it appears some DPP zealots have forgotten, or are not aware that we have now got a democratic dispensation that does not allow false imprisonment and other frivolous laws that promote one party dictatorship. Parliament, please do not turn back the hands of time.

  47. Mlangeni muwalo says:

    Zoonadi zoonadi ine sindikuvomelezana nazo

  48. Chipapi Mhango says:

    This will not take you anywhere nganya mtumbuka.

  49. Mlangeni muwalo says:

    Jappie unthamanga wamva wa ku Box 2 watsala pangono ndi Pitala wakoyo

  50. treason says:

    I dont think you will be able to silence social media. The more you try to gag it the more the fire.

  51. Amwali says:

    Za chitsamunda

  52. hamu says:

    kikikikikikikikikkikikiki fotseki

  53. Mzozodo says:

    Jappie Mhango wambula mahara

  54. Tikondane says:

    That appears to be a good law in making, but how sure are you, Mr. Mhango that it will not be in conflict with democratic principles, freedoms and human rights. People have several issues to discuss on social media apart from development. One message on the social media may be quite helpful to those who need it but at the same time, too offensive to others. I don’t mean to encourage those with the habit of insult others or posting pornographic materials on the net. For sure, this is bad. But people must have freedom to say something is bad when it is bad OR something is good when it is good. No one should feel offended, especially in this democratic atmosphere. Five years is too short a term for a government to be making controversial laws which, shortly, will turn on against it in the next few years. Izi zikufanana ndizosintha flag ya dziko, mukudziwiratu kuti akangolowa wina adzachotsa!!! Democracy zinazi timangopewa oro kuzisiya kumene.

  55. nyanisi says:

    start with punishing those who are abusing the state owned radio and TV, the rest should follow. don’t major on minors Baba. You have economic goals to settle

  56. Nyapapi says:

    Fodya ameneyo…..this regime is more than the one party system regime: Chipani chopondereza amalawi.Concentrate on crucial areas that require immediate attention not silly WhatsApp, facebook, Twitter and in general media bills. Do us access to information bill….work on security, work on famine, improve education and the market of lur kwacha. Why is the government busy victimising Malawians? The current regime is just the drama of smouldering charcoal. Zopusa…….

  57. Gold Ruyondo says:

    the internet has become the new enemy of african politicians in Uganda it was cut off during election with the president threatening that the government can do more than that.when you post something on net like this one you are not sure of what will happen to you

  58. Losambo says:

    Not possible, not even America can manage that.

  59. John says:

    PEOPLE USE SOCIAL MEDIA BECAUSE THEY CANT ACCESS MBC TO OFFLOAD THEIR CONCERNS.

    UNLESS THE GOVT LESSENS ITS GRIP ON MBC THEY SHOULD FORGET ABOUT PARLIAMENT APPROVING THE GAGGING LAW.

    PETER IS ON RECORD HE WILL VETO BILLS FROM PARLIAMENT THAT HE THINKS ARE BAD. THE OPPOSITION WILL DO LIKEWISE. I URGE THE OPPOSITION TO REMAIN VIGILANT AGAINST THESE LAWS!!!

  60. Toad says:

    He still remain mathanyura

  61. Nyooooooooooooooooooo says:

    Tikhuta fesibukuyo? shupiti!!!!!!

  62. Jessey Jackson says:

    Autocratic Leadership.

  63. Comred Brigadier says:

    Nosence, instead of proposing bill that will end this Njala we’re facing zimenezo zithandiza chani pa chitukuko cha dzikoli

  64. ngwazi wakungwenya says:

    nde zopusa Zimenezi… a failed govt

  65. Akuzike says:

    In the bill include M B C to be independence not to be controlled by state .many have stopped tuning to this radio

  66. snoopdogg says:

    Fucking Civilians…idiots.

  67. Njolinjo says:

    Absurd!

  68. TINTIN says:

    so you DPP bastards want to take our right to privacy…who that hell do you think you are? GOD….iwe ka Jappi udzafa infa yo wawa…mfiti iwe,satana, mdyelekezi wankulu iwe…

  69. kk says:

    Zakukanikani bodza lokhalokha apa,ndiye muletsanso kulankhula?nanga kunva? kuseka?
    Komano the question is, facebook, whatssapp or twitter zabwera liti ku Malawi? ndipo inuyo ndinu amene mwapeza kuti zikulakwisa anthu, why not azanu aja sanazione zimenezi?
    Kunsanva ndikumene kwakupangisani kikkkkkkkkkk!!!! kodi pajadi bwana athu anagwa? koma kugwa sikugwa basi? any way tizionela limodzi.

  70. peter says:

    Social media is not our main problem but leaderless institutions where people just occupy positions but they have nothing to offer! An institution that has widely used to abuse people’s freedom is Malawi police and this MUST stop!

  71. That’s another sign that Malawi is under dictatorship of Pitala Mathanyula, Malawians must enjoy freed of speech and privacy of communication in any platform, My requestion to Members of Parliament, please reject this bill when it comes to Parliament.

  72. Dziwapo says:

    i totaly agree with this, imagine someone sending a picture of DMU University in Mangochi burning. why do people spread lies

  73. MAGOMERO RICHARD says:

    MULINGO WOMWEWO
    UZAGWIRA NTCHITO
    PA IWE
    USAYETSE NDIWE
    WAMUYAYA

    TIKUKUWONANITU !!!

  74. lipenga says:

    Something very wrong with the mutharikas bloodline, and something demonic with DPP! our God will not let us to continue to suffer under the hands if DPP.Peter muntharika has removed the mask and everyone can see the dictator he is becoming so quickly at least bingu waited abit .

    peter thinks Malawians are stupid and scared like the Zimbabweans , we know our history and how far the Lord God almighty brought us from .God has fought for us before and He will do it again this time .we did not know that one day we will be free from Kamuzu Banda but here we are free from the fearless MYP and MCP .Malaysia was poor than malawi before but look at them!
    A new beginning and a new Nation is about to be born in Malawi where no tribe or region will be greater than the other .tribalism will die ,a new leader is coming outside DPP regional party .pray that you will not be put under house arrest Peter muntharika in yo 80s .I see the end of the beginning

  75. kennedy says:

    ofunika kuona mbalizonse musapange chiganizo

  76. Jane Banda says:

    That means Malawians are refused to freedom of expression??? Wow… Too bad indeed

  77. Zachisoni Phiri says:

    Thus good move

  78. Chimbwindyanga says:

    Hahahaha! titukwaniletu basi kkkkkkkkk

  79. nyamex says:

    Mhmmmmm koma nde zakuvutani ngati zayambira painu bwanji?

  80. Achimidizimidzi says:

    Stop it!!!!

    You did not invent whatsapp nor Facebook and I paid a lot of money to buy a phone with these applications.

  81. BOKHO says:

    Useless govt. Why can you make laws to regulate MBCTV from scathing remarks on Opposition instead be a public broad caster. You are lying who will pass that law.

  82. Bikiloni Nachipanti says:

    Bill imeneyi sikadutsa ku Parliament… Kukhaula agalu inu… Nde mukuona ngati drafting the bill will bring food in ADMARC. Kapena mankhwala muzipatala…

    Za ziiii…

  83. Wezi says:

    Fuck you Jappie Mhango ! That’s how I choose to use my social media because it is mine. As long as am not breaking any law, there is no reason for the government to control it !

  84. Banda says:

    Going so low

  85. Yesu ndi wamoyo says:

    Killing freedom of expression which is a total killing of democracy. What a shame to Malawians. That is what you wanted. Total stupidity at its best.

  86. All-i-can-say says:

    Fix the economy you morons!! The world has moved on and stop living in the past. There are real issues which you guys should be concerned about rather than thinking of controlling the people. No wonder you wanted to cut the education budget so that the people continue to live in the dark so that you can take advantage of their ignorance to continue steal from the country’s resources.

    A***les!!

  87. Banda says:

    Control or Spy on social media,

    Today’s news is immediate something the Malawi government fears,

    The truth is with a population of 17 million how many actually use social media

    WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter ate all friend based media’s, meaning if I wished to communicate with all people in Malawi it would be impossible only my contacts,
    Government wishes to control free speech and opion between contacts

    If the government controls the radio and television stations they control the biggest media outlets,

    All governments face critisn during their time in office part of a demography the DPP should stop acting if they are a dictarship

    Free speech Freedom of the press is the only way to protect us from governments or dictathorships

    Thank goodness there be an election in 2019 to vote in a new government hopefully one for the people not one for themselves.

  88. Phwisa says:

    Thats goo. The govt was sleeping. Everywhere in the world countries monitor social media thats why they are able to nip serious crimes in the bud.

  89. Mhango says:

    This one you will not win…It will eat up all you donor budget…Ever thought that after 5 years mumakhala anthu wamba?

  90. mjomba says:

    Tipatseni ndalama zathu ife ma Pensioniers please we used to receive on 14th but now tikulandila pa 20 koma chiboma ichiiii pssiiiiii.

  91. yandula says:

    a malawi kkkkk

  92. wo says:

    hahahahah Malawi is really governed by dummies. really, Hope even online publications will be controlled in the same manner …….once again hahahahaha

  93. chemuyaya says:

    tell your bwana to start performing; people will talk good about him. Jappie there is no way you can clap hands to a failed person. All you see on social media are ideas of the voters including me who can not make it to meet that man u tell lies always.
    You a as usesless as he is

  94. Pulofeti says:

    DPP NEW MANIFESTO

    Kukhazikitsa DICTATORSHIP.

    Zosatira zosankha satana ndi zimenezi

  95. eugene says:

    Akuti “melting point to discuss developmental issues” kkkkkkkkkkkkk – just get off Facebook and feed the people you greedy buffoon

  96. Mwanangwa says:

    You cannot control the mind and the user friendly facilities, Mr. Minister. These are short term reactions. The future will find you faulty of your actions and in fact you shall be netted by others in the same conduit by others when you will be out of government.

Comments are closed.