Malawi revives media gagging law! Bill to regulate Facebook, Twitter and online media

As if to prove to the country that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has learnt nothing from their tragic legacy on poor governance, this week, the Peter Mutharika administration has audaciously announced that it will be introducing a new media gagging law.

Nankhumwa: To table the bill that will gag online media in Malawi

Nankhumwa: To table the bill that will gag online media in Malawi

Presented to the House under the auspices of the Electronic Transactions Bill, the DPP led government is seeking to crack down on content of the press, beginning with online media and social media forusm such as Facebook, Instragram and Twitter.

Keen followers of press freedom in Malawi will recall that the last DPP government of Bingu wa Mutharika introduced draconian laws – section 46 of the penal code – that empowered ministers to close down any media houses that are publishing information deemed to be “against public interest”.

Following an outcry from campaigners that included a coalition of civil society, media houses, and the international community, Bingu wa Mutharika’s successor Joyce Banda repealed the oppressive law, and DPP in opposition apologised for such “bad laws”.

However, it now seems the apology was in vain as the proposal is now back on the table, with Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa putting it back on the order paper in the National Assembly.

The Bill states that restrictions will be imposed upon media houses that publishes information deemed against the interests of “public order and national security”.

Commenting on the proposal, Thom Khanje, Chairperson of the Media Institute of Malawi expressed concern saying “What constitutes protection of public order and security? The Bill further says restrictions will come in to enhance compliance with any other written law. Why not specify the Constitution not just any other law? As we all know, we have archaic laws in this country which the government can use to limit freedom of people on the internet.”

According to Section 35 of the Bill.also requires journalists to publish their contact details or even physical addresses – something which is feared could put journalists and their families in physical danger when they publish politically sensitive articles.

Nyasa Times also understands that the Mutharika led government is changing tactics in how it is to deploy its media gagging campaign. Whereas previously under Bingu, the laws were all implemented at once, the new approach is understood that it will implement incremental changes that tightens its grip on the press starting with online media.

The Bill seeks to tighten control of bloggers, online media, especially news websites, by making online news editors of such content liable for any publications which might threaten public order and national security.

But, the Electronic Transactions Bill iappearing as Bill Number 11 of 2015 on the Order Paper of business in Parliament, has not specified what the meaning of “public order and national security” as well as “facilitate technical restriction to conditional access to online communication” when it comes to transmission of online public information.

There are fears that in a bid to “protect public order and security” as stated in Section 28 (1) (e), government could shut down online social media platforms such as Facebook, Instragram and Twitter using such legislation.

The Bill seeks to regulate the information and communications technology (ICT) sector by providing aspects governing the formation of electronic agreements, regulating consumer protection in electronic commerce operations such as electronic transaction of the financial and banking sectors, provision of data protection and privacy and management of domain names among others.

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53 thoughts on “Malawi revives media gagging law! Bill to regulate Facebook, Twitter and online media”

  1. chatonda says:

    DPP belongs to the old history and this is a sign of their downfall.

  2. Nivindele says:

    Chindere chakufikapo means chitsiru chotheratu angulo Inu, paja mmakayamba kumva muli kumanda.

  3. Mmeeee!!!!!! says:

    Good bill. Mulira meee chaka chake ndi chino.Musiye kulemba zopusa in the name
    of freedom of expression/press.

  4. Kenkkk says:

    God help us. These dpp thugs want to bring the barbaric and repressive North Korea regime style of govt to Malawi. That is retrogressing to the old Kamuzu regime. It won’t happen.

  5. Funso says:

    Same old stories, year in, year out. When will Malawi learn?

  6. Vakabu ya amphawi. says:

    36/ ndiyomwe inavotera alhomwewa mophatikizana ndi asena ati chifukwa cha doko ndi airport. 64/ inawakana ndiye asachite masewera, chifukwa akangoyerekeza ndizamuchekacheka ndipo ndizamunyenyanyenya.

  7. ANALYST says:

    Vuto ndi aMalawi omwe munavotera chipani chanuchi, vuto kuiwala msanga (ref Atcheya). Two years earlier tinali ndi mavuto ndi zigawenga zimenezi za DPP, inu nkumasankha zomwezo? Mxiiiiiiiii

  8. matako says:

    Any sensible minister would know that pushing an archaic bill to muzzle its citizens is not only wrong but a big mistake. This government seems to be good at flip-flopping on issues. When we all go and march against this bill then they will turn around and rescind the decision. Why is the prime minister not talking about this? What is he advising his puppet president? DPP will never learn from past mistakes. The next bill to be introduced will be the farting law. Useless idiots. They are clueless all they know is stealing from tax payers.

  9. Bwampini says:

    Ndikuona wina akutuluka m’boma mwachanguchangu. Tiyeni nazoni. Mukuopa chani abakha inu??? We serve a living God!

  10. Omex70 says:

    I have said time and again that Nankhumwa is a useless person. The head is just big for nothing. DPP is in power by default.

  11. Bwitoto says:

    Chitsiru sichizatheka ndithu.. achitsiru aja anayesa zomwezi zinakanika mpaka anafa ndipo angulu nonse mumaona. Lero namachende uyu wayamba zomwezo. Was ala pang’ono kufa ameneyu. Ndiiiiiiiithu!!!!!!!

  12. Chawanangwa says:

    Please do not bring back archaic laws. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of everyone. Please do not limit it – you only enjoy these restrictions when you are in government but will absolutely hate them when you are out. Free speech is critical for human development – you take it away, the country struggles and humans become useless. People in North Korea struggle due to limited freedom of expression. Nakhumwa – try to help the country and yourself – you absolutely know that this is a backward step and you won’t like it when outside government. Most developed countries are ones where there is free speech – tada! surprised? Recently, there was a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Arizona, USA. The US government could not stop this, however insulting and profane this is to my Muslim colleagues because freedom of speech is critcal. You take it away, people will stop thinking. Kamuzu tried to this by not allowing TV, internet, other political parties etc. What happened? Did you like that? You are destroying your own country. All this including taxes on internet are meant to destroy free speech and make the country useless.

  13. point Blank says:

    As I have been saying, Malawi will come out of poverty when we start electing leaders on merit not as it is now. Starting from primary Elections we goof big time as we only elect those that have a blood connection to the leadership of the party. UDF Bakili them Bakili, DPP Muthalika then Muthalika, PP Banda and you will see the son taking over. MCP tried to Elect somebody a far but still with a relationship to Tembo.

  14. Erukuruku says:

    This is vintage DPP which my fellow southerners can’t seem to get enough of. They have quietly introduced ‘membership cards’ at Road Traffic, renewable yearly @ MWK5,000. You can not transact any business at Road Traffic without this membership card; and remember that number plates expire every 5 years.

    Goodall is adamant that the sms tax will not be reconsidered – it is here to stay. Although he claims that all our neighbours already have this tax he cannot explain why or how our cellphone and internet charges were already higher than similar charges in these countries BEFORE his dearly beloved sms and data excise duty.

    Independent NGOs have already been told that they are going to be shut down by Akweni. The only things that this ‘new’ DPP government has not done is to re-introduce tax on offals and to bring back the farting bill. But there is still time…I think this is just the beginning

  15. Alo utakhala ophuzira bwanji koma ukangoyamba zau gay mutu masokonekera,chilichose umachione mwa opposite

    NKAZI umamuona ngati mwamuna

    MWAMUNA umamuona ngati nkazi

    DAUSI umamuona wabwino

    CHILIMA umamuona woipa

    GETRUDE …..wonyasa

    BEN……WOKONGOLA

  16. IPTE 8 says:

    We knew it would come to that much, because that typifies DPP regime.

  17. gracious says:

    this government is just useless.

  18. Kenkkk says:

    Govern the country properly and you dpp thugs will have no problems with the people and the media of whatever nature.

    You know very well that the media is slaughtering you because of your poor and corrupt governance. So please change and you will reap the fruits.

  19. shaaaa! says:

    MBCTV is being censored and now you want fb hahahaha what a jokeeeeee! kodi mukufuna tibwelere ku 1889 nthawi ya atsamunda?

  20. Hey! My Malawi is drownig and she can’t what others are doing out there

  21. clement says:

    MBC tried to give audience during the mighty PP govt. Now when opposition is featured on MBC it means they hv blundered. On line medea is well balanced. Lies, half truths, truths for both govt and opposition are featured. So no one has an upper hand. If you, DPP, try to gag online medea, muzaona chimene chidameta nkhanga mpala

  22. Girl Lady says:

    Lawfod Palani inuso nde achitsilu ndinu amene mumatukwanitsa achewa inu mxiii kupusa

  23. Paul Vida says:

    We are tired with this DPP stupidity, Aphungu osutsa musasekelele za manyizi.

  24. shaaaa! says:

    ma vota vota,mpaka ma mafia oletsa fb.dziko ndi anthu tonse, anatipinyoletsa kalekale kwa chinese,tsiku lina tidzauzidwa tonse ku kakhala ku dzaleka camp.tiyeni nazoni

  25. Kanyalufefe(hunter) says:

    kkk ayi yayayaya koma abale zvakawoma chokwadi……..

  26. savimbi says:

    so mukapanga shut down FB mukuona ngat malonda a2-lets do bznes, mlw employment watch, tidzikapangira kut ma kape inu, kusowa ntchito mma officemo eti

  27. Che mokwata says:

    Mwayambapo tsopano timkati chani?watch out God is watching u

  28. People made a very big mistake voting for APM. I was right bcoz I didn’t vote for him, a dictator!

    You, Malawians, made a mistake, you brought him to power bcoz of his education background. Professor kkkkkkkkkkkk, now look what’s up there.

    Chidziwe nchipande powomola. Anthu openga mwapanga bwanji?

  29. straight Talk says:

    Nyaphaphi ndi nyapaphi basi samamva. Who voted 4 u? cause everybody distance himself from voting for u. Tiyeni yetserani kuti muone polekera. These are the bad laws Malawians have denouncing 2009-2012.

  30. chindipha says:

    mumkavota nokha agalu inu, lero ndi izi, a Malawi kusamva, ugonthi, ugong’ong’o

  31. LAWFORD PALANI says:

    More fire Honourable Kondwani Nankhumwa. A MCP MUNYERA MUSANATI. THOUGH AM FROM DOWA MY BLOOD IS BLUE. KUDYA MONEY PANO KU STATE HOUSE. A BWANA ANGA NDI A MUKHITHO. WAMVA JESSIE KABWILA? KODI PAJA BANJA LAKO LINATHA? AM AVAILABLE. I KNOW F………KING HEAVY. YOU WILL ASK FOR MORE. PETER MUTHARIKA WOYEEE!!! INESO WOYEEE! MUKHITO WOYEEEEE! BEN PHIRI SO WOYEEEEE

  32. Kadyakarista ndikuthakuona akugwira Mr. Ibu soon or later. These fools indeed rigged the elections. Why are they afraid????

  33. Chingolopiya says:

    So Malawians do not care to be reading authentic stories? I support the Bill.

    Munyanya atolankhani

  34. WhatsuP says:

    Government, we are watching you…. Try us we will dedicate our lives to hacking the Government and we will make your life miserable !!!

    We will MAKE YOU SUFFER!!!!

  35. Kingsley Jika says:

    The benefits of the E-Bill far outweighs our fears for a return to another form of dictatorship. I do not see how a nation the stature of Malawi can develop without taking full advantage of E-Business or E-Commerce and the commodity it uses, knowledge. In fact, we are doing a lot of E-Business today without knowing it, and we are deriving lots of benefits from it 24/7. To use E-Business with total disregard of the rules and dangers associated with it can cost us a lot. What we now need is a balance, i.e. after this, let us see other pieces of complementary legislation (come into being), for instance, Intellectual Property Law (Copyright Bill being one) and of course, the much sought-after instrument of Open Government – Access to Public Information Legislation.

  36. smadav says:

    I think most DPP members belong to the brotherhood. The way they were declared winner of that election was a clear indication of saturn giving our country in the hands of the brotherhood. God knows hw to uproot such laws. Lets wait and see.

  37. George phiri says:

    Mwasowa chochita? Whats this crap? Prof you are a piece of shit plus your nankhumwa? F******k dpp government. We hate you but we are not worried because just like your brother God will take good care of you if you continue your current rubbish. Why are you so scared? If you are good there is no way media can bring you down but because you know you are a stupid government you are trying all you can to step on our freedom.
    Do you want me to hire ISIL to come and put a bullet in your head so you can die quickly? Nooooooo. Behave my dear so we can all enjoy this free oxygen. Otherwise Boko Haram, ISIL,Fatah are there to help us bring your government down if you continue. So don’t present this bill in parliament for your own good. Actually we will start with whosover will table this bill in parliament.
    Please DPP officials read this coment with a sobber mind and regurgitate it over and over. Lets love one another and love our country guys.

  38. Manyasa says:

    The problem of voting for old people

  39. bingu says:

    mulopwana ayi usatero ukufuna kundipeza msanga? fisi ndi fisi basi. tiyeni nazoni

  40. Senior Citizen says:

    Sindinazione adachezera ku ziwonad, nde kwatsala zaka 4 eeish

  41. Nchembere Zandondo says:

    Stop it !!! Bastards!!!

    Before we come to your ‘public order’ lets start with the ‘constitutional order and sanity’ in parliament.

    You can’t see the confusion that comes becuase of our constitution, instead you are the chasing the media to suffocate people’s views.

    Remove Section 65 first.

    What good can come from a Form 2, minister?

  42. nobel says:

    I told u ppl that as long as the name DPP will stand there won’t be a different character of DPP. Let them do that soon will be out of govt nursing their stubbornness

  43. kanyimbi says:

    Bwinotu bwino, mungapalasile bwato ku mabango.

  44. ujeni says:

    Boma of thugs, democracy, freedom of expression thrown through the window. Mavota vota you voted for vampires. Ziliko liko ku Malawi.

  45. Sunga says:

    Tiziona

  46. Kadakwiza says:

    Lomwe government

  47. Umunthu says:

    Cardiac arrest calling mbambadi. Mulufuna wina apitenso za fast eti?

  48. Observer says:

    Why such desperation by people on the driving seat?

  49. MAYOKOTO says:

    Mwayambapo a DPP inu ndiye simudzamva

  50. Issa Kabudula says:

    I for one support the bill – we got the tendency of writing lies and unfounded news to the public out of soliciting cash – chakudya chalero and we don’t regard the results of tomorrow reaction of the readers, therefore – the bill must be tabled discussed and voted to law.

    1. Think Tank says:

      Issa Kabudula,tell them also about lies and propaganda on MBCtv and radio.

      1. Helo says:

        Issa, just continue watching your MBC ‘trueths’

  51. viyazi tembo says:

    WHAT IS THIS DUDE SAYING, HE IS JUST GOOD FOR NOTHING………..

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