By Staff Writer
Government has said it is undertaking a review of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act of 2021 with the intention of having the internet remain a tool for development.
Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati disclosed today at the launch of a report on understanding Online Gender Based Violence in Southern Africa that his ministry is revising the Act.
And Mr Mutati has observed that within the space of the internet, there is a category of women, politicians and female media personnel that are more vulnerable to online gender based violence, effects which the country must begin to address.
Mr Mutati has called on stakeholders to participate in the review process so that their submissions at policy level will filter into the revision of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act of 202.
“We are actually revising the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act of 2021. We are undertaking a revision of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act. The intention is that once you participate at the policy level, that will filter into the revision of the Act” he said.
Mr Mutati said his ministry would also want to establish a platform of collaboration in order to have concrete strategies and concrete action points on how the internet can be used as a tool for economic and socio-development.
He said the internet must be used for the transformation of the country’s economy and not as a tool for spreading fake news, harassment and circulation of obscene materials.
“The internet and other digital platforms create greater opportunities when used productively. It should not be a haven for pervasive minds or idol minds, those who glorify in dispatching pain in others and those whose pleasure is to see displeasure in others” Mr Mutati said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mutati said practical steps by way of developing concrete strategies are required in order to address online gender based violence in view of the proliferation of internet and digital platforms that have given a rise to the vice.
He said online gender based violence has been detrimental not only to the well-being of the affected users but has been contributing to the widening gender digital divide, indicating that in the absence of data, it will be difficult to address the issue.
“It is evident that in the advent of internet and digital platforms, there have been tremendous opportunities provided, space created for human expression. But on the other hand, we have seen people perpetuate hurtful and harmful behaviour referred to as gender based violence” he added.
He said with the launch of this report on understanding Online Gender Based Violence in Southern Africa, government will use it productively to raise awareness on the vice.
The minister has since commended Ms Namonde Gongxeka-Seopa, Head of Public Policy for Southern Africa at Facebook for efforts to resolve online Gender Based Violence and also called on African countries to further collaborate in order to find solutions to these problems.