STATEMENT BY PATRIOTIC FRONT SECRETARY GENERAL HON. DAVIES MWILA
PATRIOTIC FRONT DETERMINED TO STOP CULTURE OF INSULTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
As is the case with different kinds of technology, there is a good side and a bad side to the use of Social Media.
Some of the advantages of social media include increased connectivity as the connected state of social media allows individuals to simultaneously and effectively connect with many people over a limitless geographical area who may share common interests.
Unfortunately, as beneficial as Social Media may be, it is also prone to abuse and has to be managed in a thorough and responsible way without necessarily stifling liberties in order for PF Social media platforms to effectively benefit the common good.
Our common interest as members of Patriotic Front (PF) is the furtherance of the objectives of the party in our service of the people of Zambia. It is therefore our collective duty to ensure that the negative and abusive side of social media which includes cyber bullying and insults is not given any space in our beloved party.
Consequently, subsequent to my earlier pronouncement regarding the management of whatsapp groups and given the importance of maintaining unity of purpose in pursuit of PF values and objectives, I wish to announce that the processes to constitute a social media monitoring team have reached an advanced stage.
*The Importance of Full Statutory Compliance in Using Social Media*
As this is being done, it is important to note that there are sufficient laws in this Country criminalising insulting language under the Constitution of Zambia. According to *Article 20 (3)* of the Constitution provides as follows:
20 (3) _Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this Article to the extent that it is shown that the law in question makes provision_
(b) _That is reasonably required for the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons._
The Penal Code under Sections 179, 67 and 57 states as follows:
*Section 179* _”Every person who uses insulting language or otherwise conducts himself in a manner likely to give such provocation to any person as to cause such person to break the public peace or to commit any offence against the person, is liable to imprisonment for three months or to a fine not exceeding four hundred and fifty penalty units or to both.”_
Further *Section 57* states as follows:
“(1) _any person who- Offences in respect of seditious practices_
(b) _utters any seditious words;_
(c) _Prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication;_
(d)_…; is guilty of an offence and is liable for a first offence to imprisonment for seven years or to a fine not exceeding six thousand penalty units or to both; and any seditious publication shall be forfeited.”_
Additionally *Section 67* of the Penal Code states as follows:
(1) _Any person who publishes, whether orally or in writing or otherwise, any statement, rumour or report which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace, knowing or having reason to believe that such statement, rumour or report is false, is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for three years.”_
” (2) _It shall be no defence to a charge under subsection (1) that he did not know or did not have reason to believe that the statement, rumour or report was false, unless he proves that, prior to publication, he took reasonable measures to verify the accuracy of such statement, rumour or report._”
The laws of Zambia also provide for criminal defamation under section 191 of the Penal Code.
I am therefore directing all members of the Party in the habit of taking insults to social media to immediately stop or face the repercussions.
Let me state that I do not want to be forced to direct Provincial Executive Committees to apply *Sections 31* and *32* of the Criminal Procedure Code in bringing perpetrators to book which provides for arrest by private persons as follows:
“31 (1). _Any person may arrest any person who, in his presence, commits a cognizable offence, or whom he reasonably suspect of having committed a felony._
32. (1). _Any private person arresting or any other person without a warrant shall, without unnecessary delay, make over the person so arrested to a police officer, or in the presence of a police, shall take such person to the nearest police station.”_
Discipline is the foundation upon which our unity is built and maintained and our overall success is leveraged. It only follows that our collective discipline as a party is the sum total of the individual self-discipline of all of us as members of PF. I am very confident in the level-headedness and general reasonableness of all our members in the various structures and organs across the 10 Provinces of our country and I would like to thank all our members for their understanding and support in this regard.
By Hon. Davies Mwila
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