Zambia is now the latest African country that is contemplating a social media shutdown with the government hanging on problem of porn and cybercrime.
According to a report by the Monitor, Zambia’s Communication Minister, Brian Mushimba, told parliament that some Zambians were using social media to send pornographic images, spread hate speech and to commit identity theft.
“Prior to the proliferation of social media, people in Zambia behaved and communicated within acceptable and expected cultural boundaries,” he said.
“Incidents of impersonations, people being insulted, abused, falsely accused or defrauded on social media platforms have reached an alarming state.”
He said that these new laws that are yet to be drafted will introduce penalties for those abusing social media although he didn’t clarify on how the laws would be enforced.
Another report from Lusaka Times, stated that Zambia will not introduce tax on social media, as what we have seen in Uganda. The minister said they will not copy Uganda but they will work in conjunction with the Zambia Information and Communication Authority (ZICTA) and will continue sensitizing the productive usage of the platform.
One still wonders what African governments thinking that leads to this caging of social media against their citizens by introducing laws to regulate its use. Uganda recently introduced a social media tax which was not well received and also blocked VPNs to discourage tax dodgers.
Tanzania introduced a new law that required bloggers to pay licences. The way things are going in Nigeria, it might also happen. Kenya also passed a new law that placed stiff penalties on cyber related crimes where some sections were suspended thanks to efforts by stakeholders.