Namibia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) has come out to address allegation circulating around the country via WhatsApp that it is monitoring social media activities.
There are currently allegations pointing fingers to MICT that it is infringing on social media users’ rights to privacy and security by illegally checking their activities on the various platform without explicit permission.
The accusations started sprouting up after it emerged that the government through MICT will introduce new regulations to govern the digital communication space in the country. There is a section of the country who seem to believe these regulations will empower the government of the day to monitor the activities of Namibians on social media including having access to their mobile phones.
The Acting Permanent Secretary for MICT, Roselia Penda, said in a statement issued by the Ministry that the government has not passed any bills on regulation. Neither does the government have in possession a system that can monitor public cell phones, mobile phones, and social media activities of Namibians.
“It should be noted that the WhatsApp message currently circulating that indicates all calls are being recorded, and that social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms are being monitored is in fact ‘fake news.’” said Penda.
“MICT is therefore urging the public to be cautious of such messages as they are being created and circulated by people whose agenda is to create fear and destabilize peace among the public. As a ministry charged with Government information dissemination, MICT will always ensure that information is communicated to the public in an official manner through all communication platforms.
The public is further cautioned to avoid using social media platforms as a battle ground for political character assassination, discrimination, racism, sexism, tribalism, and any other evil deeds to destabilize the peace and stability of the Namibian House. We have only one common heritage which we guard jealously, and that is Namibia. Let us not play with the name and image of our country.”
The Illegal act of displaying Namibia Currency on social media
MICT statement comes a little over a month after The Bank of Namibia cautioned the public against displaying images or videos of the country’s currency on social media.
The Deputy Director for Corporate Communications at the Bank of Namibia, Kazembire Zemburuka, said that Section 25 of The Bank of Namibia Act prohibits the copying, replication, depiction, or simulation of any part or the whole of the visual image, content, or appearance of the Namibian currency.
“This extends to illustrations, paintings, pictures, graphics, physical objects, electronic images, and cinematography, and through the use of any material or print or electronic media, such as the internet (social media). The Bank is, therefore, requesting members of the public that have illegally reproduced images of the Namibian currency and displayed them on social media, electronic, or print media, to delete them within seven working days from their accounts. Failure to adhere to this request will leave the Bank with no choice but to take appropriate action against the offenders as prescribed by the law.
The public is reminded that The Bank of Namibia is the sole institution mandated by the Act to produce and issue Namibian currency. It thus remains the primary objective of the Bank to protect and ensure the stability, image, and integrity of the national currency so as to maintain public confidence.”