Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) director support services Mofya Chishala says WhatsApp group administrators would be required to register the groups and set up codes of ethics or risk being arrested if there is a breach.
But People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti says trying to regulate social media platforms is a waste of time, but such warnings are expected from desperate regimes.
Speaking on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation’s Open Line program, last week, Chishala revealed that ZICTA was working on a law which would compel all WhatsApp group admins to register.
“We are coming up with a law where now every administrator must be registered so that he can put ethics or codes of conduct for anyone who is going to be on that blog because at the end of the day, we are going to arrest that person who created the WhatsApp group or the editor or coordinator of the blog and that should not be the endgame,” said Chishala.
But in an interview, Mulongoti observed that such warnings could only come from a desperate regime.
“When you see that, it’s a conduct of a regime which is desperate. Minister in charge anywhere in the world would not have succeeded. We are living in a world where everything is run completely by technology and internet in whatever form is very difficult to regulate. Because there are platforms created everywhere for people to interact and platforms will be created in future. So, trying to regulate is a waste of time. They must instead find time for people to develop and not waste time witch hunting people. Let the people interact, let the people share information. And let me tell you with this miracle of technology there is nothing they can do. Only those who are scared of what they have done would want to closely monitor. They are just time wasters. But are they going to be there forever? Let them push those bills, we shall remove them when we come in power. Why do you want to monitor people?” wondered Mulongoti.
“What is it that they want to hide? We will get to know it whether they like it or not, the things that they are doing wrong. If I were them, I would not want to prohibit that. They are in control of public media, it has now become something for party cadres and government officials. Today we can’t rely on public media. People rely on social media to receive information. So why would you want to monitor or close down social media?”