Communication landscape has changed in this digital age—MACRA

Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) contends that as the communication landscape has changed in this digital age, it has brought forth a pull effect in terms of demand for information communication technology (ICT) services in the world — an Malawi inclusive.

MACRA Director General Daud Suleman delivering his opening speech

MACRA Director General, Daud Suleman made the sentiments on Monday during the continuation of regional two-day conferences for Malawi Police Service (MPS) public relations officers (PROs) at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe.

The official opening of the three conferences — under the theme ‘Policing in the Digital Era’ — was done last week in Blantyre, drawing PROs from Southern and Eastern regions and the third would be held in Mzuzu for the Northern Region communication officers.

“We moved from a world where we used to get our news and information on television, radio, and print productions to everyone everywhere having access to information and news all the time,” Suleman said, adding that this is the “breaking news era” where anyone with a phone and access to the internet could share anything with the world at any given time.

Inspector General, Merlyne Yolamu

The Director General noted that with the advent of the 5th generation (5G) technologies, accessibility to ICT has had a positive impact on the social and financial level of any given country — driving the digital economy and contributing towards its Growth Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

On the role of PR, Suleman said they are indeed at the heart of every organization as the link between the effective management of an organization and its strategic public, without which its voice as an institution is lost.

“We highly value the important duties public relations functionality plays. We saw it fit to hold this workshop where the Public Relations Society of Malawi (PRSM) will train you on how to provide effective communication in the digital era.”

The police PROs from the Central Region

PRSM is tackling integral issues of PR and media ethics, community relations, and media management and PRSM president, Benson Linje urged the MPS PROs to join their Society in order to tap from an unlimited body of information, resources and contacts in their endeavour to effectively communicate on security matters.

He said by joining organization would help them to gain experience from other PROs from various government ministries and private sectors on how to effectively communicate to the public.

Linje said obviously many aspects cannot be covered within such a short period of the conference and by joining the PRSM, the police PROs would be “benefiting from regular capacity building sessions the society organises from time to time”.

From such sessions, Linje said, the PROs “can ask for ideas from their peers on how to go about various issues and challenges”.

MACRA partnered MPS on several issues most notable is the mobile fraud task force, where various key stakeholders have come together to harmonize our efforts in the fight against the vice that is mobile fraud.

Suleman said: “We believe that our combined efforts and the deployment of the identity register system in the country are in the right direction in dealing with mobile money fraudsters and making our digital space safe for all.”

Present was Inspector General, Merlyne Yolamu who expressed MPS’  gratitude to the MACRA for the technical support provided to them in the setting-up a digital forensic laboratory.

She said the world was migrating from analogue to digital and so are crimes, adding that MACRA’s support comes at a time when the service is “struggling to adequately combat cybercrimes in the country that  include electronic money fraud, as well as cyber-abetted crimes such human trafficking and irregular migration, which put our country on a risk of harbouring terrorists”.

“Once installed, the equipment will enhance the Malawi Police Service’s ability to detect and disrupt criminal syndicates as well as successfully prosecute perpetrators of cybercrimes in courts,” she said.

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