By Kudzai Furusa
The Cyber Crimes, Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill will certainly go a long way in the fight against the spread of false news, particularly on social media.
In recent weeks, we have seen quite a number of fake news being generated on social media whose intent is to erode the people’s confidence on the government and the leadership of the President and First Secretary of ZANU PF Cde ED Mnangagwa.
Over the weekend, a fake letter was circulated on social media purported to have been generated by the Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda informing the so-called sacking of the Heath Minister by President Mnangagwa.
Similarly, prominent businessman, Kuda Tagwirei, was over the weekend accused by independent publishers of pocketing US$54 million from selling buses to Government at inflated prices. Tagwirei denied any involvement, through his lawyer Wellington Pasipanodya of Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners saying the reports were false and defamatory.
It should be reminded that President Mnangagwa once announced that the Cyber Crimes, Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill would bring fake news peddlers to book. He highlighted that there was now a law which punishes those who produce fake news and that it is bad to peddle falsehood.
The Government has the responsibility to protect people from hate speech and divisive elements. Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana is on record encouraging responsible behaviour on cyber-space.
A Chitungwiza Man was this April arrested after circulating a fake statement claiming the President Mnangangwa had extended the National Lockdown.