Government is committed to ensuring that citizens are protected from the barrage of misinformation by providing facilities where they can access reliable, evidence-based information, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, has said.
He said this while officially launching the Maphisa Community Information Centre in Maphisa, Matabeleland South Province yesterday.
Zimbabweans are being fed lies through the Internet and social media platforms, a dvelopment that Dr Muswere said had become a major threat to the nation, hence the resumption of the process of enacting the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill aimed at guaranteeing the safety and security of internet users.
“As Government, we have an obligation to ensure citizens are protected from this barrage of misinformation by providing the public with facilities where they can access reliable, evidence-based information. This is where Community Information Centres come in,” he said.
“Covid-19 has exposed how misinformation poses one of the greatest security threats of our time. During a Covid-19 media briefing on August 6, 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General (Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus) highlighted how misinformation is spreading faster than the virus itself.
“The world has seen the emergence of many ‘internet doctors’ who are churning out Covid-19 prescriptions on social media, some of which could turn out to be harmful to the unsuspecting public.”
Dr Muswere said through visiting Community Information Centres, citizens could access reliable information on Covid-19 published by the WHO and the Ministry of Health and Child Care, at affordable rates.
He said Government was committed to bridging the digital divide through different programmes aimed at ensuring people in remote rural areas had access to ICTs.
“Access to ICTs and effective participation in the digital economy is critical in improving the quality of life for all the citizens of Zimbabwe. It is our wish as Government for all citizens of Zimbabwe to have access to broadband connectivity, including those in rural and low-income communities,” said Dr Muswere.
The Maphisa community and surrounding areas, especially the farming community, has been urged to use the ICT facilities to get information on their different activities, while students could make use of the same facilities to conduct research when doing their homework and preparing for examinations.