Malawi Communication Practitioners trained on Data Protection Act

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The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has equipped Communication Practitioners from Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in the country, on how they can handle and safeguard personal data in compliance with the new legislation -the Data Protection Act.

The two-day training started on Wednesday this week at Cross Roads Hotel in Blantyre, where MACRA Board Chairperson, Bridget Chibwana told journalists that the training seeks to equip Public Relations and Communication Practitioners with knowledge and skills in handling personal data.

Chibwana said as representatives of government departments entrusted with the responsibility of communicating with the public, PR and Communication Practitioners in MDAs, bear a profound duty to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, transparency, and respect for the privacy of the public they serve.

We do not want Malawian data to be abused -Chibwana.

She further said that in this digital world, personal data can be abused; it can also be used contrary to one’s wishes and other things, so government’ communication professionals have been taught how they can safeguard personal data and how to avoid making such data available to unsafe destinations.

“Most companies nowadays are comfortable to go to a certain country when they are not certain about the data protection issues in that country. As MACRA, we do not want Malawian data to be abused in any way by others, not just in Malawi but even outside the country.

“We do not want companies in Malawi to just take data from Malawi to other destinations that do not have data safeguards. So in Malawi, there is a risk we face if we don’t have such legislation,” explained Chibwana.

The Board Chairperson, further indicated that the Data Protection Act has been legislated to safeguard or protect Malawians against the unfair things that can happen while data is being processed by those that are given for online services.

Chibwana then concluded by revealing that the Authority will extend the awareness training to other relevant stakeholders including the general public as the Data Protection Act affects everyone in the country.

Speaking on the significance of the training, one of the participants, Masozi Kasambara, who is the Spokesperson for the National Water Resources Authority, said the training has been an eye-opener to him and other PR and Communication Professionals from MDAs on the Data Protection Act.

Meanwhile, on 1st of February this year, President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera assented to the Data Protection Bill and eight other bills.

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