Minister of ICT says Zimbabwean government will consult citizens if need to regulate social media arises

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Supa Mandiwanzira, Zimbabwe’s Minister of ICT

The Minister of ICT Supa Mandiwanzira has repeated warnings against social media abuse stating that the government would like to discourage the small minority that is misusing it so that they don’t spoil it for the majority that is using it positively.

He also pointed out how the government has no intentions of regulating social media but it would consult citizens to ask them how they think they should be protected should the need to do so arise.

These statements which were reportedly made on live radio come after the government issued a statement through the telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, that it would clamp down on the misuse of communication platforms that include social media.

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Bothe the Minister and POTRAZ have said that they can track messages sent via mobile phones. Mandiwanzira said that people should not “hide behind technology and think they are smart.”

Earlier this year, while addressing a parliamentary committee he also warned against the misuse of social media.

Examples of social media abuse that have been highlighted by the government include revenge porn, child pornography as well as the distribution of material that can incite violence or cause civil unrest.

The focus on inciting civil unrest is what has sparked debates around a possible clampdown on social media as Zimbabweans increasingly turn to platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter to express their frustrations with the corruption and inefficiencies in government.

Over the past few months, social media has been used extensively by citizen activists that include a group known as #Tajamuka as well as Evan Mawarire, a Zimbabwean pastor who has been advocating for accountability through a hashtag movement known as #ThisFlag.

Through these hashtag activist efforts, there was a nationwide stay away earlier this month which also coincided with a loss of service on WhatsApp, the most popular social media service in the country.

During its 4 hour blackout, allegations of a State led shutdown of social media were levelled by citizens.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Muzukuru says:

    I fell off my chair reading this. Zanu PF/Government or whatever you want to call it does not consult people. They make ultimatums and demands.

    He is a liar. No one, most certainly Zimbabwe’s clownish government, can read/intercept Whatsapp messages as the service uses end to end encryption.

    1. Mukoma says:

      They ran out of substance long ago and now rely on deception, fear and intimidation. I just hope we don’t end up like Eritrea. I had no idea things were this grim there https://goo.gl/tWdzte

    2. @n0n says:

      If by some miracle, they are true to their words, it’ll be the Chinese assisting them, through software or services.

      The Chinese are “friends” and they have villages and villages of dedicated and very capable hackers that even cause the US sleepless nights.

      What does Huawei do? Who owns it? Are they infamous for anything?

      That’s as far as I’ll go

      ——

      Another thing, when Supa Mandiwanzira speaks of “abuse”, he means to say “freedom of speach”
      —–
      Another thing is, they won’t win

    3. Mahachi says:

      Very true no one can encrypt any messages that come through whatsapp. He is merely intimidating. That has always be a hallmark of a rouge government that thinks it owns people and can do whatever they want with them.

    4. Anonymous says:

      Taura zvakaoma Muzukuru lol ?

    5. cheerful says:

      but how secure is this end to end encryption??

  2. radix says:

    they consider freedom of speech as abuse

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