The government has expressed concern over the continued abuse of social media by unscrupulous people.
Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga said it is unfortunate that some people are using social media to commit crimes such as cyberbullying, online sexual harassment and hate speech among others.
Mr Malupenga said Government values social media and fully supports its use but will not tolerate any form of abuse.
He said Government wants to ensure that the cyber space is safe for electronic business transactions and safe for receiving information for both genders and all age groups.
The Permanent Secretary was Speaking when he officially launched the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group social media monitoring initiative in Lusaka yesterday.
And Mr. Malupenga has expressed happiness that organizations such as the Women’s National Lobby Group and the National Democratic Institute are coming up with initiatives aimed at raising public awareness on cyberbullying, hate speech and online sexual harassment against women.
He explained that the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes law which recently came into force was meant to cure such abuse.
“There is no law in Zambia that is against the use of social media and Government has no intention of enacting any law against the use of social media. We know that social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp among others, have transformed the communication landscape the world over and Government would not like to have its citizens remain in the past,” he said.
“Government is doing everything possible to get as many citizens as possible on the internet for their own benefit and ensure they move together with the rest of the world. That is why Government has, so far, spent over US $ 280 million in building and upgrading over 1000 communication towers across the country,” he said
And Zambia National Women’s Lobby Board Chairperson Beauty Katebe said her organization is worried with the fast growing trend of cyberbullying, hate speech and sexual harassment against women in politics.
She disclosed that more than 70 percent of the Zambian female political leaders have testified experiencing online bullying, hate speech or sexual harassment in the course of their political leadership.
“Our organization, with the help of other partners, hopes to create a safe environment for women’s participation by raising awareness against such vices. We have since set up a monitoring tool through which members of the public as well as victims can report such incidents,” said Ms. Katebe.
Zambia National Women’s Lobby group has come up with a WhatsApp and Mobile Tip-Line (0973591491) which will be used by members of the public to report cases of cyberbullying, hate speech and sexual harassment against women in politics.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Press and Public Relations Unit.