Malawi Safer Internet Day Committee - Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority
About our SID activities
This year, Malawi joins the rest of the world in commemorating Safer Internet Day (SID) under the theme: "Together for a better internet".
SID seeks to create a safer and better internet where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectively, critically and creatively. It also aims to raise awareness on emerging online issues from cyberbullying to social media usage and abuses. Each year SID chooses a topic reflecting the current online concerns. This year the theme is calling for a joint venture when it comes to dealing with emerging online concerns. It is against this background that MACRA is calling upon all stakeholders in Malawi to join the movement and participate in making the internet safe and secure for our young adults and children. The Authority realises the importance of a multi-stakeholder collaboration to ensure a well-informed nation in the fight against online child exploitation and abuse.
Over the years, the world has seen a surge in the advancement of Information Technology sector particularly in terms of the internet and digital technologies and Malawi has not been spared. The emergence of new technologies has seen a rise in the production, distribution and proliferation of online child sexual abuse material. Malawi joins the global call for child online safety, with human rights experts flagging the need to tackle online child sexual abuse.
According to ITU in 104 countries, more than 80 per cent of the youth population are online. In developed countries, 94 per cent of young people aged 15-24 use the internet compared to 67% in developing countries and only 30 per cent in least developed countries. Out of the 830 million young people who are online, 320 million (39 per cent) are in China and India. Nearly 9 out of 10 young individuals not using the internet live in Africa or Asia and the Pacific. We need an empowering, inclusive and safe internet for all children in Malawi, wherever they are.
A considerable amount of progress has been made in recent years in addressing risks and harms while maximising opportunities offered by new technologies to prevent online abuse and empower children but "it is time to scale up these efforts by connecting through a truly global alliance to develop an empowering, safe and inclusive digital agenda for children.
As we commemorate the day, we call upon all stakeholders in Malawi to take an active role in addressing issues of low internet literacy levels as part of their corporate messages. This digital divide between us and the increasingly internet connected world must be a focus for both government and the private sector to support growth and reduce poverty by embracing ICT to the core.
To mark the commemoration, MACRA, in collaboration with ICT Association of Malawi, m-Hub, YONECO, British Council, Phoenix, St. Andrews International Secondary and Primary Schools, Hill View, Sir Harry Johnstone have organised the following activities:
- Press briefing.
- Panel discussion on online child safety.
- Students videos to be aired on both radio and TV.
- Parent-teacher workshop.
- Radio and TV programmes.
- School outreach programmes.
We call upon each one of us to observe the day and help to spread the message to promote the positive power of the internet.
What we are doing to support the SID 2020 slogan of "Together for a better internet"…
We are promoting collaboration will all stakeholders in raising awareness to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and inspire a national conversation and also raising awareness on online safety and responsible use of social media and on existing laws prohibiting child pornography, harassment, cyberbullying and cyberstalking. We are also publicising the child online reporting platforms number 116 which is run by Youth Net and Counselling. We also empower and build capacity for children and the youth to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. This year, the children have taken a leading role in producing videos which will bring awareness to their friends and parents.
Jingles will run from 10-14 February 2020.
Students videos developed by students of 1 to 5 minutes will be aired as follows:
- Monday, 10 February 2020 - positives of the internet (St. Andrews International Primary School)
- Tuesday, 11 February 2020 - pros and cons of social media (St. Andrews International Secondary School)
- Wednesday, 12 February 2020 - dangers of the internet (Hillview School)
- Thursday, 13 February 2020 - song about e-safety (Phoenix Primary School)
- Friday, 14 February 2020 - how to protect yourself on the internet (Sir Harry Johnston School)
At country level, we have established Malawi Computer Emergency Response Team to provide a comprehensive set of responses to cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities through national coordination with all stakeholders. Abbreviated as MwCERT, the department within Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), acts as a focal point for coordination of cybersecurity related issues at national and international level, with the aim of effectively responding and preventing Cyber security incidents for critical infrastructures and other systems of national interest. MwCERT was established pursuant to Section 6 of the Electronic Transaction and Cyber Security Act, 2016 of the Laws of Malawi to take charge of Critical information infrastructure protection actions and serve as a base for national coordination to respond to cyber security threats.
The Malawi CERT has the mandate to execute the following minimum services:
- Pro-active services: public notice, technological surveillance, security audit and assessment, security installations and maintenance, security tools development, intrusion detection services and security information dissemination;
- Consultation and sensitisation campaign, education or training and product appraisal or certification
- Reactive services: early warning and precaution notice, incidents processing, incidents analysis, incident response facility, incidents response coordination, incident response on the web, vulnerability treatment, vulnerability analysis, vulnerability response and vulnerability response coordination;
- Artefacts treatment, artefacts analysis, response to artefacts, coordination of response to artefacts, risk analysis, continuation and resumption of activities after disaster, security.
At organisation level, we have planned for quarterly security awareness workshops in the year 2020. Content for each workshop will be tapped from a security awareness programme we have subscribed to called KnowBe4. KnowBe4 is a large library of security awareness content that also combine with simulated phishing attacks which we have been conducting so far. KnowBe4 will help to manage the continuing problem of social engineering.
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is the ICT sector regulator in Malawi. In addition to regulating the ICT sector, it is also mandated to implement public educational programmes on safe use of internet under Section 97 of the Electronic Transactions & Cyber Security Act of 2016.
As part of this new consumer protection mandate MACRA, on 6 February 2018, joined for the first time so many countries worldwide in celebrating Safer Internet Day.
For MACRA, this is a continuation of a journey which started in December 2017 when, with technical assistance from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) the Child online Protection (COP), a strategy for Malawi was developed as a way of protecting our future generations. Therefore, Safer Internet Day is but a reminder that we all need to do our part in protecting our children. It is a day when we engage in various activities to promote safe, responsible and positive use of the internet.
As MACRA we have always believed that COP is a shared responsibility between government, private sector, NGOs, parents/guardians and children. That is why MACRA has joined forces with the ICT Association of Malawi (ICTAM), Yoneco, and mHub in this years' SID celebrations.