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Zambia’s thinking of Regulating Social Media, but will not take drastic move of taxing users

by Milicent Atieno
zambia social media

The internet is a good thing. Then again, it is only as good as the user. That is why governments all over the world have taken keen interest to regulate and monitor their citizens’ online activities. While regions such as the European Union have had regulation framework for decades, African governments are now seeing the need to have control of activities on the internet and around tech device.

Zambia becomes the latest African country to take a swipe at social media, and the country is now thinking of tougher regulations on the platform. The country’s Communication Minister, Brian Mushimba told the Zambian parliament that some citizens were using social media to share pornographic images, steal other people’s identity, and spread hate speech.

In essence, Zambians were using this foreign-developed platform, to do ‘un-African’ things.

Prior to the proliferation of social media, people in Zambia behaved and communicated within acceptable and expected cultural boundaries,” said Mushimba.

Incidents of impersonations, people, being insulted, abused, falsely accused or defrauded on social media platforms have reached an alarming state.”

Zambia introduces new laws to regulate Social Media

The minister further said that new laws should be drafted to regulate social media activities in Zambia. Mushimba wants the long arm of the government to catch up with citizens who are doing the wrong things online. The Minister was however scanty on the details on how these proposed laws will be enforced.

Social Media taxation on the way?

The East African country, Uganda shocked the world by making a new law that imposes a daily tax on social media. Now that Zambia is making headlines about thoughts of regulating social media, people are beginning to wonder if it will also take the Ugandan route.

Well, Zambians and give a sigh of relief as the Minister assured a section of the media that they will not be taking that drastic move. The Minister said, Zambia has no intentions of copying Uganda, but they call upon the Zambia Information and Communication Authority (ZICTA) to beef up scrutiny of the use of social media platforms in the country.

Other African governments that have recently moved to control the internet include, Tanzania which introduced a new law that would require bloggers to pay for a license. Kenya too was on the verge of passing a new law that would have placed very stiff penalties on cybercriminals, but a section of the bill was suspended after stakeholders went to court opposing it.

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