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Zambia’s President agrees to reconsider cyber security laws

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 16 May 2022

Zambia will review its controversial Cyber Security and Cyber Crime law enacted last year by the country’s previous administration, according to President Hakainde Hichilema.

The previous administration claimed the law would help combat cybercrime, coordinate cyber security matters, develop relevant skills and help promote the responsible use of social media in addition to facilitating the identification, declaration and protection of national critical infrastructure.

However, its introduction was met with vehement opposition from civil society organisations and opposition parties.

Following the change of government in August last year, digital and media rights groups have continued to lobby the new administration to revise or repeal the law, citing it as a challenge to establishing a free and independent media.

Addressing the media in the capital Lusaka, Hichilema said the legislation would be reviewed and safeguards implemented to protect citizens from online abuse.

Hichilema affirmed his administration’s eagerness to entrench media freedom, but also safeguard the public.

“The government is revamping the economy which had declined and would need the media to do this. Therefore, I want the media to operate freely while at the same time protecting citizens from social media abuse. We will soon be revising or repealing the Cyber Security and Cyber Crime law.”

In a report submitted to a Parliamentary Committee two months ago, digital rights organisation Bloggers of Zambia said the law makes it difficult for media to do their work.

Richard Mulonga, Bloggers Zambia CEO said, “The law criminalises publishing of information or data presented in a picture, image, text or symbol that compromises the safety or security of another person. This is overly broad and vague and can be used to stifle journalistic work. There is therefore, need to revise, repeal and harmonise all laws that have provisions that are inimical to the work of the media.”

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