The Sunday News
SOCIAL media use will soon be regulated in Zimbabwe, with the State already drawing up legal and policy instruments to govern information communication technologies.
Local web developers are also in the process of stitching together products similar to social networking sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Skype and Twitter so as to enable greater supervision. These measures are tailored to protect citizens’ rights following a surge in social media abuse through propagating falsehoods, defamation, character assassination and national security threats. Countries like China have similar regulations and have developed their own social networking sites.
Sina Weibo, the equivalent of Twitter, is one of the most popular networks in China. Following his return from a Japan working visit on 2 April, 2016; President Mugabe advocated for hi-tech systems that engender development instead of abuse and infringement of people’s rights. The President revealed that the Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira is seized with the matter.
Last week, Minister Mandiwanzira told our Harare Bureau that internet supervision is imminent. He said that it will be incorporated into the National ICT Policy. He also said the Universal Services Fund — established with contributions from telecommunications companies — will be used to spur technological innovation.
“There is an enormous abuse of the internet, particularly social media. Hardly a day passes by without a story alleging scandals involving social media. In his statement, the President was saying we need to look at systems that protect the freedoms accorded to all Zimbabweans by our Constitution where those freedoms are being undermined by social media.”
Minister Mandiwanzira said experts are considering technological and legislative means to stop the menace which also extends to the hacking of internet accounts. He said the broad initiative will result in cheaper and greater internet access.