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By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia says it is concerned with the circulation of unverified fake news with potential to cause chaos and negatively impact on individual citizen’s lives.
MISA Zambia Chairperson Hellen Mwale said MISA has noted with concern the reports from the Copperbelt and other areas of citizens been attacked by suspected criminals through social media.
Ms Mwale said people are misusing social media by people with vested interests to harm the reputation of others while using pseudo names online.
“While we realise social media has enabled citizens to further share news and other breaking stories in real time that helps them stay abreast with events occurring around them, MISA Zambia wishes to call upon members of the public who abuse social media to desist from doing so and henceforth stop the spread of falsehoods as this has the potential to cause panic and alarm. This platform should instead be used to correctly inform the public and to further constructive debate and dialogue on topical issues affecting the people.
She said citizens should seek to verify and authenticate news that they come across.
Ms Mwale said News and information which is inaccurate can lead to civil unrest because it spreads false information which misleads people and can lead to riotous behaviour or damage innocent persons’ images.
She said MISA Zambia has appealed to the government through the Ministries responsible to continue engaging the media as citizens rely on official channels of communication.
Ms Mwale also appealed to the government to enact the Access to Information bill to deter fake news and circulation of untruthful information.