Former Finance Minister (GNU era) Tendai Biti has criticised the ” badly drafted” Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill which he says infringes upon the citizenry’s right and freedom of speech and media.
He speaks after Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Stembiso Nyoni had reported that the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission had recommended the criminalisation of campaigning against Zimbabwe.
The Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill has passed through the public consultation stage. Posting on Twitter, Biti said:
The Cyber Security&Data Protection Bill is a badly drafted piece of fascist dross intended to muzzle free speech & media. Cabinet s decision to criminalize “campaigning against Zim” is latest gesture of crass attack on free speech. Regime is desperate to silence voices.
Commenting on the Bill, officials in the Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology, Postal and Courier Services who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said the bill has “good intentions” although it was possible for it to be abused by politicians.
They said it seeks to regulate the conduct of individuals and to protect the citizenry against crimes committed on the cyberspace.
Meanwhile, some have expressed concern that the bill will empower the government to invade the citizens’ privacy.