Government has expressed concern over the continued abuse of social media by unscrupulous people.
Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga says abusers of social media platforms, have, with impunity, continued to use the cyber space to commit crimes especially against women, girls and children.
He said it is unfortunate that some people are using social media to commit crimes such as cyber bullying, online sexual harassment and hate speech among others.
Speaking when he officially launched the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group social media monitoring initiative in Lusaka, Mr Malupenga explained that the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes law which recently came into force was meant to cure such abuse.
He said Government wants to ensure that the cyber space is safe for electronic business transactions and safe for receiving information for both genders and all age groups.
Mr Malupenga stressed that Government values social media and fully supports its use but that it will not tolerate any form of abuse.
“There is no law in Zambia that is against the use of social media and Government has no intention of enacting any law against the use of social media. We know that social media platforms such as Facebook, Tweeter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp among others, have transformed the communication landscape the world over and Government would not like to have its citizens remain in the past,” he said.
He said Government was doing everything possible to get as many citizens as possible on the internet for their own benefit and ensure they move together with the rest of the world.
Mr Malupenga explained that this is why Government has, so far, spent over US $ 280 million in building and upgrading over 1000 communication towers across the country.
And Mr Malupenga has expressed happiness that organizations such as the Women’s National Lobby Group and the National Democratic Institute are coming up with initiatives aimed at raising public awareness on cyber bullying, hate speech and online sexual harassment against women.
He appealed to all citizens to support the crusade against the abuse of social media especially against women and other vulnerable members of society.
And Zambia National Women’s Lobby Board Chairperson Beauty Katebe said her organization is worried with the fast growing trend of cyberbullying, hate speech and sexual harassment against women in politics.
Ms Katebe says women in leadership positions, aspiring politicians as well as political activists have become more prone to online abuse a matter she said is discouraging women to participate in politics and other facets of life.
She disclosed that more than 70 percent of the Zambian female political leaders have testified experiencing online bullying, hate speech or sexual harassment in the course of their political leadership.
She said the situation has continued to discourage women from participating in politics and other leadership roles.