People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda says PF only want to regulate social media in order to curtail divergent views and not to curb cyber bullying.

Speaking when he featured on Radio Christian Voice’s Chatback program in Lusaka, Wednesday, Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba said his ministry had 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.

“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,” said Mushimba.

But Banda told News Diggers in an interview that the said three crafted bills had nothing to do with curbing cyber bullying or any abuse of social media because the party had already demonstrated that it never tolerated those who held different views.

He accused the PF of wanting to be the Alpha and Omega in the country by not allowing those who held divergent views to freely express themselves.

“Cyber bullying should not be tolerated by anyone because it’s another way of bullying just like any other bullying. However, we know that these regulations that the PF are trying to take to parliament are based on the fact that they just want to curb those that hold divergent views. This has got nothing to do with cyber bullying or any abuse of social media. Because the point is that what they don’t want is freedom of expression. The issue is that most of the government officials have got social media platforms such as ministers. Now what they don’t want here is that they don’t want people to be telling them off that for example ‘you have failed to work’,” he said.

“So they can take that in the context of saying ‘that’s cyber bullying, why are you telling the minister like that on their social media platform?’ So the regulation of social media by the PF is based on the fact that they want to curtail divergent views. Not really to deal with cyber bullying and abuse of social media, because even without these regulations, the PF have not demonstrated that they can tolerate divergent views. They do not want to be told the truth, they do not want to be advised, they don’t want to listen to anyone. They are the Alpha and Omega.”

Banda also advised the PF government to always involved stakeholders when implementing policies.

“So as PAC, we condemn all these regulations until the PF can demonstrate that they can tolerate divergent views. And if you look for example of Pilato, Pilato is there holding divergent views and imagine those posts that he puts on social media, to the PF that would be called cyber bullying or something like that…. Am sure in that bill which is hidden somewhere, they have already put something to curtail such posts. So we condemn that. And if they want to implement anything, they need to make sure that other stakeholders are involved because we are all stakeholders. There is no way that a group of people with selfish interests can come up with a bill just to protect their interests. So we condemn that,” said Banda.