Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has issued a stern warning to anyone who possesses, distributes or transmits pornographic material, saying doing so is an infringement of the country’s laws including the Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act of 2016.
In a media statement on Friday, and made available to Nyasa Times, found culprits will be liable to a K10 million fine or serve a 15-year jail term in default.
“MACRA urges all Malawians that while exercising their freedom of online communication, they should be mindful of the laws governing such communication. These laws include the Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act, 2016, specifically section 24 (2) and section 85,” reads the statement in part signed by MACRA acting director general.
The statement further urges the general public to desist from “engaging in these prohibited acts or risk prosecution” and that the public should always report perpetrators of such acts to their nearest police.
Among others, some of the acts MACRA has cited are production, reproduction and offering or making available any pornographic for distribution or storage in an information system as well as being found in possession of child pornography.
In October 2016, President Peter Mutharika assented to the cybercrime bill that would allow the government to crackdown on content of the internet including social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and twitter and give stiffer punishments for punishments such as hacking and computer fraud.
Of late, Malawians have been careless with the manner in which they use social media platforms, especially Facebook and WhatsApp.
About a week ago, renowned politician and former cabinet minister, Henry Mtengowaminga Mussa, demanded damages of up to K10 million for defamation from Upson Mkandawire—known on Facebook as Gogo Gowoka—after the latter implicated Mussa in a K40 billion scam.
And 38-year-old Lilongwe-based woman, Irene Chisulo Majiga, was ordered by the Lilongwe Magistrate Court to pay a K50 000 fine for spreading fake news about a rape suspect