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HomeNewsGovernment To Tighten Screws On ‘Fake’ News Sites

Government To Tighten Screws On ‘Fake’ News Sites

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The Zimbabwe government is worried about fake websites which are bend on tarnishing the image of the country by spreading falsehoods, a senior government official has said.

Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira said many people were falling victims to fake news peddlers and warned that the new law would bring culprits to book.

“There are many websites which are peddling falsehoods about the country. Most websites founded by people living in the diaspora and sponsored by shadow NGOs have been in the forefront. However, this would be the thing of the past as the sun is slowly setting on them,” he said.

Close sources said the government has raised a red flag on websites based in England and Australia over peddling false information that raise alarm and despondency among them a website run by Australia based journalist Victor Chatyk Chatikobo called zimnewsblog.com, zimsituation.com and myzimbabwe.co.zw

Another source said the authorities are worried on another Baba Jukwa phenomenon as the country gears up for 2018 election.

Information gathered by this publication, showed that The Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill, which was introduced last year by government to curb cybercrime will soon be enacted into law.

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The Bill’s purpose is focused more on the criminalisation of offences against computers and network-related crimes. It has little focus on the need for protection of individual liberties, or accountability in the processes of combating the cybercrime. The absence of expressed intention to safeguard basic human rights raises fears that the Bill is solely intended to police internet use at the expense of people’s liberties

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A Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe official, Tsitsi Mariwo, said the cyber security law sought to protect individuals, communities and the country’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks.

“We have a responsibility to play our part as a country in terms of fulfilling our national, regional and international commitments to put measures to address the illegal activities associated with use of cyberspace,” she said.

Harare lawyer Elfas Toungana  said Zimbabwe’s current computer statutes were not comprehensive enough.

“The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act provides for computer-related crime, but the code is too narrow, thin and grossly inadequate to deal with the dynamic changes in cybercrime,” he said.

“Section 162 to 168 of Chapter 8 of the Criminal Code tries to deal with unauthorised access and use of computer-related manipulation, but fails to deal with issues of bringing tormentors to book or bring a prosecution for libel.”

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