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Zambia readies new cyber security policy but pundits not convinced

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 15 Jan 2021

The Zambian government has approved the establishment of a new national cyber security policy that officials believe will ensure effective mechanisms for a well-coordinated governance framework on cyber security in the country.

Government spokesperson Dora Siliya said the policy will also help combat cybercrime, coordinate cyber security matters and develop cyber security skills.

She added that the policy is also expected to help protect children online, promote the responsible use of social media platforms and facilitate identification, declaration and protection of national critical infrastructure.

“The government will take responsibility of ensuring that the public sector, private sector and civil society are not only aware of the dangers of cyber space, but also that the respective sectors take necessary measure of securing themselves,” said Siliya

Richard Mulonga, CEO of Bloggers Zambia, has warned that the policy must not be used to target or infringe on citizens activities online.

Mulonga said in as much as there is recognition for the need for enhanced internet legislation to make the online spaces safe and secure for all, there is need for those laws and policies to be democratic, specific and must enhance online rights and freedoms rather than used to silence citizens’ voices online.

He said the concern for Bloggers Zambia is that the process of building internet laws and policies in Zambia has been leaning heavily towards government institutions which he said is against the internet governance approach of multi-stakeholders.

Mulonga added that the internet must be left open and accessible for all because social media platforms empower citizens with inclusive avenues for debate, sharing opinions and idea and scrutinising those aspiring for public office.

“In as much as we agree that there is wrong-doing online, we have noted the growing intolerance against citizens’ voices that are merely debating public matters and speaking truth to power online platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. We make a clarion call for the enactment of appropriate internet laws and policies that are in line with regional and international norms.”

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