Bloggers of Zambia is glad that Justice Minister Given Lubinda recognises the need for good internet regulation and personal data protection laws in order to make the cyberspace good of human development.
We are glad that the Justice Minister has recognised the absence of cyber security laws in Zambia, which has been a matter of consternation, contestation and debate of late.
This is why we have maintained our clarion call for the enactment of appropriate internet regulations that must be in line with regional and international norms and standards such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) of the European Union. The proposed internet regulations in Zambia must be made to protect internet security as well as personal data protection, unlike the current process where the regulations are suspected to be a threat to our digital rights.
Our concern is that the process of building internet regulation laws in Zambia has been secretive and non-participatory of all stakeholders including bloggers, journalists, civil society, the private sector and citizens.
We call on the government through the Justice Minister and other relevant government ministries to open the process of building internet laws in order to get adequate input of aforementioned stakeholders. This will establish an internet governance environment in which all stakeholders are participate in the management of the internet ecosystem in Zambia.
The failure to include stakeholders in the enactment of internet laws has perpetrated current questions and speculation that the government will gag digital rights especially freedom of expression in Zambia.
Understandably, the internet was meant to improve the lives through the enjoyment of digital rights but the fact that certain people are engaging wrong-doing online does not warrant enacting cyber laws that threaten citizen rights.
There is need for capacity building on the technical understanding of internet governance, digital rights and basic concepts of the internet ecosystem among relevant stakeholders including senior public officials because there is a lot of ignorance and misconceptions about the cyberspace in Zambia.
Currently, Zambia is lagging behind in internet governance matters mainly because of the of failure to accommodate stakeholders and myths regarding the role of the internet in the democracy.
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