Written by Gift Asibu:
The Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority of Malawi (PMRA) has declared its intent to use all applicable laws to prosecute movie translators, if they continue to include advertisements for traditional medicine healers in their movies.
PMRA Public Relations Officer, Joseph Josiah stresses that this practice is illegal and contradicts the country’s pharmacy regulatory law as such, the authority is prepared to take legal action against those responsible.
Josiah underscores that, “The law requires an individual to seek approval from the Authority before such adverts are displayed; therefore, movie translators and advertisers need to seek approval from us, irrespective of the platforms where the adverts are displayed.”
Recently, PMRA, in conjunction with the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), jointly prohibited radio stations from incorporating traditional healer adverts before or after translated movies without necessary approval.
However, despite this proclamation, some translated movies in the country continue to feature such adverts, particularly foreign movies translated into Chichewa.
John Khembo, Chairperson for the Movies Translators Association (MTA) has however, attributed this to a lack of awareness on the existing laws among MTA members.
He said, “MTA members were not aware that such practices are prohibited”.
Khembo suggests that regulators should consider conducting existence awareness campaigns to ensure that the public, including their members, are fully aware of these developments.