Editor's Comment

Cyber bullies must be caged

SOCIAL media is one of the best technological developments of our era.

With the advent of social media, human interaction has been totally transformed and made easy.
Today, through social media, people regardless of geographical location are able to share content quickly, efficiently and in real time.
Today it is possible to get news on an event happening in another country or continent within a few minutes or seconds of its occurrence.
Friends and families living apart are now able to communicate as though in the same location.
For students, social media is a powerful research tool which can enhance their school performance.
Businesses have not been left out, as they use social media to promote their brands and market their products.
For politicians, social media provides an opportunity to sell manifestos or indeed share what they are doing for their electorate.
For the church or preachers, social media can be used to reach out to lost souls.
At a personal level individuals can use social media to learn a whole lot of new ideas to enrich their lives.
In as much as social media is a powerful tool that can be used to impact lives positively, it is not immune to abuse.
In Zambia, like many other countries across the globe, some depraved individuals have decided to overlook the constructive uses of social media by engaging in cyber bulling.
These are people who use social media consistently to peddle lies and channel out hate speech.
Some have established blogs and online sites which they use to fulfil their destructive agendas.
Many, especially politicians and government leaders, have fallen victim to these cyber predators.
Just recently Nkoloma Ward Councillor Tasila Lungu was the target of this cyber bulling.
Earlier this month, a faceless online publication alleged that Ms Lungu was swindled in a fake gold transaction.
These false allegations come after another online site alleged that she was involved in illegal trafficking of the much sought-after mukula logs.
Through such lies, many lives have been dented and others destroyed.
This certainly should not be allowed to continue. Zambia, and indeed the rest of the civil residents of the world, should find ways of curtailing cyber bullying.
This is why we join Ms Lungu in calling for constructive use of social media by all citizens.
As she put it: “We must realise as citizens that we are privileged to live in a very peaceful country where we are able to express our thoughts and ideas freely.”
She further states: “Let us enjoy this freedom responsibly and use it to share accurate information, positive thoughts and ideas, and most importantly, use it to improve our own lives instead of trying to destroy reputations and lives of others.”
As Ms Lungu rightly pointed out, while we are privileged to have freedom of expression in Zambia, this should not be abused.
Citizens and media alike need to excise responsibility in the manner they use social media.
We are however cognisant of the fact that it is not within the nature of some individuals and media outlets to be responsible; this is where law enforcers come in.
Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) needs to come in and bring sanity to the cyberspace.
ZICTA should carry out thorough investigations and expose those perpetrating character assassination. Such are a danger to society’s well-being and should therefore be confined within the four walls of prison.
Understandably, this is not an easy challenge, especially that the culprits get more sophisticated with the use of social media, but we expect ZICTA to also up its game to be able to counter negative behaviour.

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