from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE Zambian government has been urged to enforce laws governing the abuse of social media as the political atmosphere gets ever more toxic.
The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) reiterated the call, also at a time the church and the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) had fallen out over prevailing challenges in the Southern African country.
“We are cognizant of the fact that social media is here to stay and the benefits it has come with are numerous,” ZCCB stated in its “State of the Nation” address.
“However, we bemoan the abuse of this tool of communication. We are particularly concerned with the use of vulgar language which goes undeterred,” the organisations continued.
It appealed to “to the conscience of everyone on the responsible use of social media and urge the statutory bodies responsible to be vigilant and enforce laws related to the same.
“We call upon the same statutory bodies to apply cyber laws stringently against websites set up for malicious purposes and whose handlers cannot easily be traced for the aggrieved to seek recourse to justice in the courts of law.”
Zambia is beset by political tensions, which have peaked since attainment of independence from Britain in 1964.
UPND, led by President Haikande Hichilema acknowledged the concerns raised by the church in the Southern African country.
“It should be noted that this is not the first pastoral letter ever written, so the ruling party appreciates consistency and continuous dialogue on issues affecting the people,” commented UPND National Youth Chairperson, Gilbert Liswaniso.
Several critics of ex-opposition leader Hichilema have been prosecuted for “defaming” or “insulting” him via social media.
– CAJ News