12 September 2012

Zambia: Tighten ICT Laws, ZICTA Urged

GOVERNMENT has challenged the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) to strengthen laws pertaining to the use of various forms of technology such as internet in the country.

Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Amos Malupenga said ZICTA should come up with other appropriate laws that would deal with abuse of internet.

Mr Malupenga said ZICTA being the overall institution mandated with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), should immediately consider revising its laws to protect the use of technologies.

He said in Lusaka yesterday that ZICTA should identify weaknesses on its laws and ensure that Zambia was protected against abuse of technologies by sealing off loopholes that tend to violate the internet.

"Zambia's advancement in technologies has not come without challenges. It is not a deniable fact that technology like internet has been abused.

Let's use internet to build the nation and not destroying it.

"We are challenging ZICTA to look at ways of strengthening laws to protect technologies. ZICTA should immediately revise laws to protect not only the country but victims who have been abused," he said.

Mr Malupenga, who is in-coming chairperson of national Information For All Programme (IFAP) committee, was speaking during IFAD workshop aimed at preparing a strategic plan and launch of its website.

The four-day workshop which drew participants from various sectors was aimed at providing strategic direction to IFAD as well as achievable and measurable targets for the coming years.

Mr Malupenga said the Government had adopted United Nations Educational and Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) initiative dubbed IFAD to enhance access to information for every citizen.

The initiative was spearheaded by Zambia National Commission for UNESCO which received both financial and technical support from UNESCO Paris office as well as the cluster office in Zimbabwe.

Mr Malupenga said the objective of the programme was aimed at promoting international reflection and debate on ethical, legal and societal challenges of information society.

It would also promote and widen the access to information in the public domain through organisation, digitalisation and preservation of information.

"I observe with delight that the said objectives are in line with Government's policy to ensure public access to information for a well informed society," he said

He said the objectives were in tandem with the digital migration agenda which Government had embarked upon as prescribed by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

He said the establishment of a multi-stakeholder national committee to spearhead implementation of IFAD activities had come at a better time when Government had placed public access to information high on its development agenda.

Mr Malupenga was confident that IFAD would go a long way in enhancing capacity to process and disseminate information necessary for stimulating social and economic development.

As an incoming chairperson of IFAD, Mr Malupenga pledged the ministry's commitment to working with all stakeholders in ensuring the success of the programme.

He hailed UNESCO for embarking on capacity building projects of five community radio stations which include Isoka in Muchinga Province, Lyambai FM in Mongu and Zambezi FM in Livingstone.

Others were Breeze FM radio station in Chipata and Mku shi FM in Central Province.

He said the Government was happy the project would focus on staff training on the radio stations.

Earlier, ZICTA director general Margret Mudenda said the institute had embarked on connecting various learning institutions such as University of Zambia, Copperbelt and Mulungusihi universities with ICT facilities.

She said abou

t 50 more colleges had been identified by ZICTA to have effective access to ICTs while the programme of installing communication towers in various parts of the country was progressing well.

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