Online bullying and cyber harrassment have become synonymous with social media and law experts have encouraged women to report cyberharrassment so as to preserve and protect their dignity.
Speaking during a radio programme on cyberbullying and its impact on young women, legal expert Dr Samukeliso Sibanda said Zimbabwe has enabling legislation when it comes to the Criminal Law and Codification Act but cited that the country was not prepared for the technological advancements.
“Chapter 8 of the Criminal Law and Codification Act focuses on Computer related crimes but it does not speak to new technologies such as social media and WhatsApp. Cyber bullying is a crime within our law whether done through WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter. Not everyone opens up about cyber bullying because many people think is it normal and this is how things should happen,” she said.
Dr Sibanda said a Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill has been passed and will soon be an Act. She highlighted that the bill has clauses 164b which highlights that any person who unlawfully and intentionally sends information with intent to coerce, bully, degrade, humiliate or encourage others to harm themselves, is liable to a fine not exceeding 10 years.
“Section 164c seeks to punish perpetrators of cyberbullying, section 164e which speaks to transmission of data without consent,” she said.
Speaking during the same radio programme, a mentee from the WILD Leadership School Lezina Mohamed highlighted that young women who are seeking to engage in leadership positions are often victims of cyberbullying.
“When I was contesting during the primary elections of my party a few months ago, I received threats that were meant to scare me and even those who were assisting me were getting these threats. This did not deter me but mostly taught me to be bold. I resorted to blocking and deleting those who were cyberbullying me,” she said.
Mohamed also highlighted that more women in Zimbabwe are increasingly experiencing cyberbullying and this is affecting their confidence to actively participate in online spaces.
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