Social media regulation bill ready for approval – Minister

Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba says his ministry has finally crafted three bills aimed at addressing cyber bullying, fraud and propaganda among other vices on social media platforms and the Internet.

Mushimba said the cyber security and cybercrime bill, the e-transaction and e-commerce bill and the data protection bill would soon be table before cabinet for approval.

Speaking when he featured on Radio Christian Voice’s Chatback program in Lusaka, Wednesday, Mushimba said the bills were crafted following an increase in vices on social media platforms and on the Internet.

“As government we have actually taken notice that there is an increase in propaganda and all these half-truths being posted on social media platform. All these things are on the rise. As government we have taken notice and we have realized the importance of the Internet. But as good as the Internet is, it’s being threatened by the vices such as bullying, propaganda and fraud. We have created three bills in the ministry that are going to Cabinet for approval. Once Cabinet approves, they will go to parliament so that we can start reading them before they become law,” he said.

“The cyber security and cybercrime bill, we e-transaction and e-commerce bill, we data protection bill, so that people’s privacy as they are online is going to be protected. If you transact online, there should be recourse for you. If you are defrauded, cyber security is in line with other chatters that we have signed. There are responsibilities placed on Internet because it transcends the country. As Zambians, we need to be responsible and define guidelines so that we move to greater productivity of these powerful platforms,” he said.

Mushimba noted that politics around the country have eroded the peaceful atmosphere that Zambians had enjoyed since independence.

“It’s so sad that we are seeing certain section of society buying into anarchy and taking peace for granted, and some of it I think we can even blame our politics. Our politics have started polarizing the peace space to the extent that the code of conduct around politics is being lost. The code of conduct around politics is one, the process the political process that if you choose to participate in it, understand the rules, understand its limitations and its short comings. When you understand them and still choose to participate, you should be able to accept the outcome. People now are refusing to accept the outcome of something that they willingly participated in. And they are pouring gasoline on an inflamed situation and driving a rage.”

“And we as Zambians should step back and say this is not who we are. This is a democratic right that we participate in this process and when it’s over, it is over. Let’s talk about development, let’s talk about loving our neighbours and let’s talk about what brings food to the table. Instead of this perpetual politicking and pitting me against my neighbour, we don’t want to do that,” Mushimba said.

Meanwhile Mushimba said President Lungu’s choice of a young cabinet demonstrates his insight to develop the young generation into future leaders.

“This is the youngest cabinet Zambia has ever had since independence. That again speaks about the man that President Lungu is. He is a man who understands that the old are in the evening, and the old need to start passing the baton to the young ones. He wants to grow a cadre of young people that want to take over when older people move to retirement. Look at the good decisions that are being made by the President. This president has demonstrated to the people that he is understanding, caring and good to all people.”

He also said the Patriotic Front’s pro-poor policies were a testimony that the ruling party was concerned with the plight of poor Zambians.

“The PF is unique in that we are the first party that propagated the first pro-poor policies. We are the party of the poor. That’s why we associate ourselves and identify ourselves with the poor. Our colleagues in this space are elite. They speak Facebook language and they attract people on those social media platforms. But there is a very small population there. The majority of Zambians up to today don’t have Internet. Those are the people that the Patriotic Front speaks for today. In fact, people get surprised when the PF wins elections and social opinions where pointing a different direction, because there is a very small figment of the population. The real people, the real voters are on the ground, the bus conductors, the marketeers, the miners, those are the people that PF draws membership from,” said Mushimba.

         

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