Malawi to start regulating social media, online news – Macra

The Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority (MACRA)  director general GodfreyItaye  has said they will start controlling the use of social media across the country.

MACRA's Director General Godfrey Itaye: Social media to be regulated in Malawi

MACRA’s Director General Godfrey Itaye: Social media to be regulated in Malawi

Itaye told a local radio that they are waiting for President Peter Mutharika to give his node to the  Electronic Transactions Bill  which was passed in parliament to strat regulating the social media including online news publications such as Nyasa Times.

“Once the law has been assented , we will be doing our background work,” Itaye said.

“We need to regulate content on social media and all other platforms that publish stories. People must take responsibility,” Itaye added

If assented into law, for instance online publication and its editors would be compelled to register so that they take responsibility for defamation and character assassination cases.

“Its high time Malawi strats regulation those things,” Itaye said.

Under the new law under Section 89 of Electronic Transactions Ac, it says: “Any person who uses a computer for making any request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious or indecent, commits an offence know as cyber harrassment and shall upon conviction, be liable to a fine of K2,000,000.00 and to imprisonment for five years”

Under the Electronic Transactions Bill, the DPP led government is seeking to crack down on content of the internet including social media platforms such as Facebook, Instragram and Twitter.

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

But Jimmy Kainja—a social media communication expert—says while some people have displayed wrong intentions with social media, the technology is the best tool for people-centred communication.

“One thing that must be clear from the onset is that social media is only a tool used by people—what’s on social media reflects the people that use it.

“The society is composed of both good and evil people; it’s inevitable that you are going to get the same thing on social media. The media—social or traditional—have always had this symbiotic relationship with the society,” Kainja was quoted in The Nation recently.

He pointed out that social media has opened a discursive space where ordinary citizens can talk about issues that matter to them—overturning the traditional top-down forms of communication.

Kainja, nonetheless, admitsted  that while social media has enhanced democratic governance elsewhere, the platforms have locally been hijacked by people with malicious intentions.

“One can find so many negative examples on how the social media has affected people’s live. Talk about cyber-bullying, spreading false rumours (sometimes malicious). People’s lives have been ruined via social media, we cannot dispute these facts. .”

However, another social media expert, Levi Kabwato, contends it is not easy to enforce morality on social media as posts are at the discretion of users.

“Social media are a mere reflection of what society is saying or doing at any particular moment. Previously, these thoughts were kept away from us because we had no way of accessing them. Nowadays, sharing information, regardless of content, has become the norm. We want other people to know what’s going on within and around us, and usually, we want to take credit for being the first ones with such information,” he argued.

Kabwato argues it was difficult to define ethics of sharing information.

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Eugene
Guest

Fodya eti?

True Patriot
Guest
Signs of a failed state: 1) when the state can’t figure out how to make its citizenry produce enough food for their own consumption. 2) when government is full of thieves within its establishment that even the top leadership is too embarrassed to admit theft exists, not just in that country, but in the world. 3) when there are no medicines in hospitals, even for simple and easy to cure ailments, because hospital workers ‘shipped’ all medical supplies to their private clinics 4) when education systems have crumbled because no one in leadership feels that education is an investment. 5)… Read more »
be humane
Guest

Mchisala tanena nanga a MCP amadziwa chani kapena amadziwika ndi chani?

be humane
Guest

The Act is trying to regulate online news not facebook and whatsapp. Nyasa please inform the nation and not misinform the nation. This will include Nyasatimes, Malawi Voice, Malawi 24, Maravi post and the rest its not about twitter, facebook or whatsapp

mchisala
Guest

That is all DPP knows: Kupanga Bad Laws!, Kupha!, Kuba!, Nkhanza!, Umbuli, Sakho!

be humane
Guest

Well done MACRA we need a stop to Cyber bullying and cyber harrassment. Inu mukufuna kuti mudzingonyoza anzanu mkumatukwana basi mumvekere morality is difficult to measure? Monga inu a Kabwato simumadziwa kuti kutukwanana nkulakwa? Bravo MACRA keep it up. Thats is not just perculiar to Malawi its there even in other countries. Bravo MACRA wakwiya ndi mfiti

Wilson
Guest

Running out of ideas. This is dictatorship manifesting itself right in our eyes. All the efforts of taking out the one party state system are being lost in plain sight. I wonder how Malawi will vote come 2019. This is pitiful.

Central
Guest

Nanunso a Itaye, what is your problem?

Your bad feelings are emanating from the exposed issues like where you paid dubious money to Chipyoza etc. Take it or leave it, you will succeed in silence the social media, but the world has just too many alternative means and most of them, you can’t control. I suggest you have read what @ Dowa has said. Mind you an angry person is an angry lion and trying to silence them is “kuwathila mchere pa chilonda!!” Lets wait and see who the looser will be!!!

The Patriot
Guest

These laws will come back to haunt the authors! DPP thinks it can shut Malawians up by enacting laws to serve the interests of the ruling elite? Lest these people forget, rulers of today are the oppositikon kf tomorrow and viceversa. Pano muli mu ma boards as chairs mwaiwala kuti nthawi ya JB munali busy castigating the govt usingthe same social media you want to muzzle now! Mukuona ngati you will rule for ever??

Achimidzimidzi
Guest

You people regulating SOCIAL MEDIA. What does the word “social” mean to you.
Seriously, you are in government busy regulating and controlling social media. This is too hopeless.

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