Tuesday 16th January 2018

Is State House’s Crack Down On Social Media A Threat To Freedom Speech?

It’s being billed as ‘measures to curb fake online media statements’ and has been purportedly issued by President Edgar Lungu through his press aide.

State House has today announced that from now onwards, all its press statements will be confirmed by the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS), the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and state-owned newspapers in an attempt to avoid ‘fake news’ circulating on social media.

Mr. Chanda said ZANIS, ZNBC and state-owned newspapers will be confirming official statements from State House within 30 minutes of being issued.

The Presidential Press aide has meanwhile bemoaned the abuse of digital media space by some people who broadcast messages of hate. He pointed out that police and other security agencies that are charged with the responsibility of protecting cyberspace should bring the scourge to a stop. However, it is a fine line between halting hate and halting criticism and freedom of speech as has been demonstrated in Uganda under Museveni and formerly in Zimbabwe under Mugabe who just months ago arrested an Al-Jazeera journalists for criticising him on Twitter under the banner of hate speech and ‘fake news.’

Amos Chanda continued his statement “I must first express great disappointment at the rampant acts of abuse of digital media space to broadcast message of hate. The police and other security agencies tasked with security of cyberspace should bring this matter to an end,” he stated.

Mr. Chanda observed that while social media offers unlimited opportunity for people to interact, its abuse is not condoned.

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