By David Mwanza
Zimbabweans across the political divide have been urged to support the public hearings on the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill which commences next Monday.
The public hearing on the Bill comes at a time when there are growing global calls for responsible behaviour on the cyberspace.
The enactment of the Bill would go a long way in curtailing the proliferation of fake news thus enhancing the protection of individual rights against malicious people.
Speaking ahead of the commencement of the public hearings ZANU PF legislator for Makonde, Cde Kindness Paradza said, “It should be supported because there is a lot of fake news circulating on social media, character assassination by haters, spreading of rumours some of which are of security nature meant to destabilise the country.”
Cde Paradza dismissed claims that the Bill was targeting to curtail people’s freedoms.
“Not really. This is why various committees are involved in the joint hearings. We have the Committee on ICT, another on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, including the Senate Thematic Committee on Peace and Security.
“We don’t want this Bill to take away those rights enshrined in the Constitution or to bring back AIPPA through the back door. We are clear on that. Actually the Bill protects individual rights against malicious people,” said Cde Paradza.
Meanwhile, a political analyst, Nobleman Runyanga, writing in The Herald of 6 June 2020, observed that “everyone will agree that there has been massive abuse of this (cyberspace), through propagation of malicious fake news, posing serious threats to our socio-political-economic and security environment and the status quo could not be allowed to go on unabated.
“Lately, Zimbabwe has been plagued by the abuse of social media by people such as Thomas Mapfumo, Shingi Munyeza and Talent Chiwenga who use it to incite youths into mindless protests.
“The country has not been spared from citizens who use the social media to spread fake news. In Iran the social media is used to organise protests. Even developed countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States have their own share of social media abuse.”