GOVERNMENT has appointed a team to monitor what Zimbabweans post on social media around the clock, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said.
Mutsvangwa was, however, quick to state that the government did not intend to regulate social media.
“We have actually come up with a cyber-team that is constantly on social media to monitor what people send and receive since we cannot wish social media away,” Mutsvangwa said.
“We are also appealing to the Zimbabweans and top government officials that whatever message they post on social media should be to build not to destroy the community.”
Mutsvangwa blamed the late former President Robert Mugabe for maintaining a tight grip on media while praising his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa for “ensuring free speech”.
“People used to have fear and respect on social media during Mugabe’s time, but all that is no longer there in the second republic.”
Harare Polytechnic media studies lecturer Spanyoge Madziwa said the government had no role in regulating social media since it did not own any social media network.
“With the advent of technology, we have seen an improvement in the use of digital space for people to air their concerns without fear. So there is no need to regulate social media, people must be free,” he argued.
Madziwa also spoke out against promoting hate speech on social media, saying this tarnishes the country’s image.
He added: “People should use proper channels when they need clarification from relevant authorities. However, social media is a tool used by whistleblowers, especially on corruption.”
Mnangagwa’s government is currently working Cyber-Security and Data Protection Bill which will, apart from punishing social media abusers, allow snooping on private communication among citizens.