Lusaka, 19 January 2018: Panos Institute Southern Africa is greatly worried by recent reports attributed to the Minister of Transport and Communications, Hon. Brian Mushimba, indicating that the Zambian government would consider restricting access to some social media platforms like Facebook.
Panos views this threat as an affront to the country’s democracy and development. It is our considered view as an organisation that any restriction on social media would amount to infringement of Zambian citizens’ right to freedom of expression. It will limit the participation of Zambians in the global village, and curtail the growth of ICT based businesses. There is no doubt that social media platforms are an important alternative source of information for the citizens. We have also seen many cases where citizens have meaningfully engaged with government through social media.
We appeal to Hon. Mushimba, and the government at large, not to take the route of banning social media sites like Facebook. Instead, the government needs to work with other stakeholders to support Zambians to use social media for communication that shapes the country’s development. We also advise the government to find alternative ways of curbing fake news without restricting social media or infringing on citizens’ rights.
Lilian Saka Kiefer
Executive Director, Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf)
Email: email@example.com Tel: +260978778148/9