Macra to fight cyber crimes, fake news: To raise awareness

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) on Friday said it had made significant progress in raising awareness on cybercrimes despite a short period of Macra assuming the role of regulating online issues.

Chimbe: To fight increased cases of cyber crimes which are having a negative effect on the economy.

Macra  deputy director of Legal Consumer Affairs, Thokozani Chimbe made the revelation during the commemorations of this year’s Safer Internet Day (SID) which falls on the second Tuesday of February each year but Malawi commemorated the day on March 6 this year.

Cybercrimes are criminal offences committed via the internet aided by various forms of computer technology such as the use of online social networks to bully others or sending sexually explicit digital photos as well as dissemination of fake news.

Chimbe said despite internet being a new thing in the country, there are a lot of concerns in most private schools where students are allowed to have phones unlike in public schools.

She said these children are being cyber bullied hence the need for awareness to both parents and teachers as well as the children on how to combat cybercrimes.

“Malawi is not far from other countries in making sure that there is cyber security. We have established the e-transaction act which tackle online issues and also gave MACRA the mandate in having an oversight role in raising awareness on cyber security.

“This act also talks about cyberbullying whereby if someone insults or makes hate speeches to others, they will be arrested. The e-transaction act has also a section called Computer Emergency Response Team which will help in regulating the telecommunication on the internet,” she said.

She said SID is important because it raises awareness on the use of internet with focus on both the positive and negative uses and impact that the internet has to people.

She said: “SID seeks to create a safer and better internet empowered to use technology responsibly.

“It also empowers people to use the technology respectitably, critically and creatively as well as raising awareness on emerging issues on online issues from cyber bullying to social media usage and abuses.”

YONECO Deputy IT Manager, Moses Chongoloka Msuka said the organization takes part in the commemorations since SID promotes the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and it has a  number of initiatives to help children on the same.

“We have a 116 toll free line where people call and access issues on online and internet. We are also hosting the online portal which is a platform where people can report sexual exploitation and cyber space.

“If a report goes through the online portal and toll free line, there are mechanisms and policies aligned to it. We have a multi stakeholder approach where we also have MACRA and the police; so bullied children are helped easily through these,” he said.

Msuka said YONECO has certified counselors who help children in coping with effects arising from cyber bullying and other child rights abuses.

The 2020 SID theme is ‘Together for a Better Internet’ which is reflecting on having a shared responsibility between the government, parents, teachers, children, private and public sector on online safety.


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