The Zimbabwean government is inching closer to clamping down on citizens’ use of social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.
The Cyber Crime, Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill of 2019 was recently passed by President Emerson Mnangagwa’s cabinet, representing an important step towards it becoming law. It still has to be debated and approved by parliament, in which Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu PF party has a majority.
If passed into law, the bill will penalize citizens who create and share what is deemed offensive or pornographic material over social media platforms.
The bill has been criticized for infringing on civil liberties if it becomes law and there are fears from rights and democracy campaigners it could also strengthen any government bid to snoop on private communications of citizens.
However, President Mnangagwa has stated that the government aims to pass the bill into law in order to protect the country’s “cyber-space”.
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