Malawi drafts new cyber laws to control social media

Lilongwe - The Malawian government has announced the drafting of new cyber laws to control the use of social media across the country, local newspaper Nyasa Times reports.

According to Information Minister Jappie Mhango, a bill that will impose harsh punishment for "abusers" of social media platforms, would soon be tabled before parliament.  

Speaking during an interview with the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Mhango said the bill was aimed at refocusing the medium of social media so that it could be used for discussions around developmental issues affecting the state.

Mhango made an indirect suggestion that certain legislators and publicists were abusing WhatsApp, as they discussed a wide range of political, economic and social issues, much to the concern of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

"This is a big concern to us. A lot of people are abusing Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others," said Mhango.

The development follows recent remarks made by President Peter Mutharika where he expressed concern over the use of social media in the southern African country.

According to a previous News24 report, a recent photograph of the Malawian president went viral over social media, prompting many to question Mutharika's health.

In the photograph, the president was seen falling during a tree-planting ceremony in Lilongwe.

Following the incident, Mutharika stressed the need for new laws to regulate defamatory and malicious messages expressed on social media, urging all Malawians to embrace positivity and to curb the spread of false rumours.

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