Editor's Comment

Stop cyberbullying

INCREASED abuse of social media poses a grave danger to society going by reports of high cases of cyberbullying, fake news and identity theft.
It is regrettable that Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) received 3,075 cases of child abuse online, 615 fake news reports, 551 cyberbullying, 126 identity thefts and
1,150 cyberbullying last year.
While the use of technology can be advantageous in doing business, education and social activities among others, mismanaging it could have serious repercussions.
Minister of Transport and Communications Mutotwe Kafwaya yesterday flagged off a walk dubbed ‘Walkathon’ from Lusaka to Livingstone aimed at creating awareness against cyberbullying.
We totally agree with the initiative, especially that those participating in the walk like Captain Thokozile Muwamba and Mwangala Maunga are living testimonies of the scourge.
Capt Muwamba, Zambia’s first female Zambia Air Force fighter pilot who appears in the media encouraging girl-children to aim higher, and Maunga are victims of cyberbullying.
Muwamba and Maunga are not the only victims of cyberbullying, a lot others have suffered rumours of them being reported dead through social media.
Truth is that young people born in the era of information technology cannot avoid the cyberspace for progressive interaction, therefore, need to be protected against abuse.
The fact that information technology permeates through visible barriers and is spontaneous makes it highly sophisticated to either harm or benefit users.
Parents would like their children to have a safer Internet experience and for them to use that space responsibly, obviously with COVID-19 pandemic, children have had to take lessons online and the need
for extension of information communication technology services for all can never be avoided.
It is because of such background that President Edgar Lungu, during his last address to the nation through Parliament, announced Government’s intention to introduce laws that will curb the scourge.
Mr Kafwaya’s call is timely that his ministry, which is responsible for the development and growth, should be committed to ensuring that internet users are protected.
In that regard, it is just right that Parliament quickens the development of Bills like the Data Protection, Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill, and Cybersecurity and Cybercrime.
Once enacted into law, the Bills will address, among others, the online violations which are not covered in our current laws, safeguard the rights of online users and instil a good cybersecurity culture.
Recent victims include former Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, song bird Maureen Lilanda and Zambian soccer icon Kalusha Bwalya, all said to have
died when it was simply fake news.
First republican President Kenneth Kaunda, too, was rumoured to have died when social media went awash circulating fake death news.
Former American President Donald Trump almost caused pandemonium through Twitter when he was accused to have incited his supporters for insurgence.
By that one tweet (may be twit), Mr Trump’s supporters stormed Capitol Hill to riot and violently attack the United States Congress in a failed attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
Clearly, if not regulated, social media is capable of igniting unquenchable disturbances and corrupt innocent minds.
We, therefore, hope that the sensitisation campaign by the two activists being supported by partners like ZICTA and others will yield positive results.




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