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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19 thoughts on “Malawi to start regulating social media, online news – Macra”

  1. Eugene says:

    Fodya eti?

  2. True Patriot says:

    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) when government takes responsibility for compensating business people whose goods are destroyed in ‘strange’ market fires, this despite existence of a vibrant insurance industry whose business it is to shoulder such burden!
    6) when government pays a blind eye to its tobacco farmers’ plight who still can’t sell their tobacco well into the next growing season.

    The biggest sign of a failed state is when government authorities take offense at being told something as obvious as ‘in Malawi the sun only shines during day time ‘.

    Yes you can shut our mouths from lamenting about how cursed our nation is but that will not remove that reality…..

  3. be humane says:

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

  4. be humane says:

    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

  5. mchisala says:

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

  6. be humane says:

    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

  7. Wilson says:

    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.

  8. Central says:

    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!!!

  9. The Patriot says:

    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??

  10. Achimidzimidzi says:

    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.

  11. Thava boy says:

    Let this empty headed chicken give a nod to this bill, we will see how Muthalika Broadcasting Corporation is to abide to the law. Silly laws in the 21st centaury……..

  12. chilungamo chimawawa says:

    kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk. these are dunderheads a piece of joke. you can’t control internet. Ask Microsoft, they will tell you they failed to control guys who illegally use their software. various authorities have failed to stop torrents for example. they torrent companies change their domains evry time the authorities block them. So who is Peter Mutharika to control internet and social media. He is failing to control stealing of money from the government. Imagine his own ministers get involved in stealing, this is a joke!!!

  13. Hiding says:

    At Global level:
    “Facebook now has approximately 1.6 billion users, which equates to about one quarter of the world’s population. This number becomes even more astonishing when you consider that 3.3 billion of the world’s 7.2 billion people are connected to the internet — Facebook has registered over half the world’s connected population. The other internet giant, Google, handles around 4 billion search queries a day. Our information age of hyper-connectivity has heralded a new understanding of achievable scale. Every two days we generate the same amount of information as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003 — five exabytes — and platforms with skittish names and basement origins categorize and index this information, mediate how we interact with one another, and mould the channels through which we access the vast repository of human knowledge. Companies that operate on the breathtaking scale of Google and Facebook address and satisfy core fundamental human needs; namely, access to information and social interaction. It’s a formula for success: identify or create a need and provide a product or service which fulfills this need. In our networked world, this can be done at all levels” including Malawi:

    We should support laws that promote knowledge sharing providing conducive environment for the citizenry to develop apps/platforms for the larger community to use in developing the country.

  14. Dowa says:

    Zakukanikani apa,mulibe ndi manyazi yomwe, miti ikuluikuliyo mulibe bongo?za manyazi! Tipeza Pena polemba, ndipo sitilekabe mpaka kuitana Kwa a Malawi kunveka ndithu tsiku Lina, tizilemba kaya pa nseu, pa khoma,pa khonje, pa mwala, mpaka sititopa.

  15. Dr Lozai Mbilizi says:

    Zopusa. Yambbani ndi Malawi Voice

  16. Mulomwe says:

    So a cashgater gets a lenient sentence than just trolling on the Internet which doesn’t necessarily affect this country economically? What are you afraid of?

    Are African leaders little men emotionally that they can’t accept a little harsh criticism (cite Magufuli) and get their hurt with something they don’t like..?

    Grow up Peter and grow some!
    Punish Escom! Punish waterboard, macra, financial institutions,. Ministers, telecom companies for these are some of the areas that are affecting any progress in this country and stealing from an already struggling Malawian.
    But just because you are a chicken you’d rather go for ordinary citizens fearing all your cronies in government and private sector…very silly! Mediocre fearful bullish behaviour..

    Itaye note that where there’s technology there’s always a way.. i know this …Fight different battles izi you are just wasting time and money.

  17. Joloza says:

    Let them do it…we shall squeeze DPP with the same rules they make until they all disappear in this country…Itaye and Peter will be the first culprits

  18. Joloza says:

    We said it….that DPP is known for cracking on dissent… These killers are worse than the one party state….

  19. Fisi Dausi says:

    It’s too late and social networks are here to stay. Let macra know that it is unstoppable.

    Just tell your government agents to put their house in order, osati zodandaula Facebook etc.

Comments are closed.