Zambia is now the latest African country that is mulling a social media shutdown due to such problems as porn and cybercrime.
Last week, Zambia said it will introduce new tough laws to regulate social media use to fight cyber-crime and combat the consumption of pornography in the conservative African country.
Communication Minister Brian Mushimba told parliament that some Zambians were using social media to commit identity theft, send pornographic images and 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.
According to Lusaka Times, Zambia will also not introduce a 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.
We are now in an era where African governments have seen an explosion in use of social media by their citizens and are catching up with laws to regulate its use. Uganda 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 licenses. Kenya also passed a new law that placed stiff penalties on cyber-related crimes where some sections were suspended thanks to efforts by stakeholders.