This post was originally published on AllAfrica website on 2 June 2018.
All WhatsApp group administrators in Zambia will now be required to register the groups and set up codes of ethics or risk being arrested if there is a breach.
The new rule was announced by Zambia Information and Communications Technology (ZICTA) boss Mofyta Chisala on Thursday, in a move widely perceived by many as efforts by the Zambian government to control free speech.
“We are coming up with a law where now every administrator must be registered so that he can put ethics or codes of conduct for anyone who is going to be on that blog because at the end of the day, we are going to arrest that person who created the WhatsApp group or the editor or co-odinator of the blog and that should not be the end game,” said Chisala.
Opposition leader Mike Mulongoti however described the development as a ‘waste of time’ and signs that the government is ‘desperate’.
“When you see that, it’s a conduct of a regime which is desperate. We are living in a world where everything is run by technology and internet in whatever form is very difficult to regulate. So trying to regulate is a waste of time. What is it they want to hide? we will see it whether they want it or not,” Mulongoti told Diggers News.
This moves comes a day after the Ugandan Parliament passed a law that will see Ugandans charged UGX200 (about Sh5) on a daily basis for the use of WhatsApp.