Gwanda (Ilanga-New Ziana) – Proposed Cyber-crime laws are necessary and not a threat to the citizens, a lawyer has said.
Addressing Matabeleland South journalists in Gwanda during a recent Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) media training on safety and security for media practitioners when conducting their duties, Clarence Siziba, who is also a media lecturer, said laws were there to protect the state and its citizens.
The Cyber Crime, Security and Data Protection Bill, which was drafted in 2016, was approved by cabinet but is yet to be tabled for debate in parliament.
The Bill seeks to combat cyber crime and increase cyber security in order to build confidence, and trust in information communication technologies.
“Yes we need these laws because our current framework does not cover for some of these things.
“Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act is good because it allows us to seek information from public bodies.
“However, the Act does not compel private bodies to give you information. Cyber Security Bill seeks to protect people from harassment, protect citizens from fake news. Hence, they are very valid and relevant,” Siziba said.
Commenting on the training, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) Programmes Officer, Malvin Mukudu said the objective of the training was to capacitate journalists to ensure that they were safe and secure when carrying out their duties.
“We have seen that there is a worrying trend of journalists who are being attacked and arrested during the course of their duties.
“This is just a refresher course to remind them on what they need to do to safeguard themselves and remain safe as they do their work.”
Asked about what Misa has done before to those journalists who were once arrested or harassed, the programmes officer said they had a fund and legal representation.
“Misa has always been carrying out work on safety and security of journalists. This is just an ongoing effort to improve the safety and security of media practitioners.
“We have a media Defence fund which journalists can tap into if they are arrested. If arrested they can receive legal representation and if injured during the course of their work and prove that they are bonafide members, medical assistance will be rendered to them,” said Mukudu.