Zimbabwe wants to punish social media ‘fake news’ peddlers

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Pretoria – Zimbabwe’s government is exploring ways to hold accountable, and punish individuals who propagate fake news on social media platforms.

Information, publicity and broadcasting services permanent secretary Nick Mangwana told state-media that the small southern African country was “saddled with a destabilising anti-Zimbabwe brigade” whose main tool of choice was misinformation.

According to The Herald newspaper, the Harare authorities now want to expedite the passing of laws that punish people peddling false news on social media. The publication described them as “some unruly elements”.

It cited “numerous and unwarranted attacks” on President Emmerson Mnangagwa coming from exiled former information minister Jonathan Moyo – who served in former president Robert Mugabe’s cabinet alongside Mnangagwa.

Mangwana said the moves by the Harare government were a bid to “protect” its people.

 “The Cyber Crimes, Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill has provisions which deal with some of this menace. The government has a responsibility to protect people from hate speech and divisive elements,” he told The Herald.

“We need to bring responsibility in the use of social media, if not, then people should not complain when regulation does it for them.”

African News Agency/ANA