Zambian Government Clarifies: No Plans for Social Media Regulation, Focus on Internet Broadcasting Oversight

The Zambian government has clarified its stance on social media regulation, dispelling rumors of impending legislation aimed at holding individuals accountable for their content on social media platforms.

Contrary to misinformation circulating online, the government asserts that it has no plans to regulate or legislate social media usage to the extent of penalizing individuals for their posts. Instead, it emphasizes that social media usage is already governed by the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act of 2021, which was enacted by Parliament prior to the 2021 general elections.

The current issue under consideration pertains to the regulation of internet broadcasting, a matter initially raised during the former administration’s tenure in 2015, not by the current administration.

Government officials emphasize that there are no maneuvers aimed at restricting the constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and expression in Zambia. Assertions suggesting otherwise are deemed as gross misinformation to the public.

The Technical Working Group (TWG), comprising stakeholders, has expressed support for regulations governing internet broadcasting. However, it’s crucial to note that there is currently no proposed legislation before Parliament or Cabinet seeking to impose restrictions on social media usage as claimed.

According to the Independence Broadcasting Authority Act No. 17 of 2002, “Broadcasting” specifically refers to the distribution of television or radio content via satellite or terrestrial means.

Officials clarify that the regulatory process is not targeted at individuals but rather at entities seeking broadcasting licenses to operate as legally recognized broadcasting institutions.

It’s important to emphasize that the proposed regulations are still in the proposal stage and have not yet been presented to Cabinet or Parliament for consideration.

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