Chief Government spokesperson Dora Siliya has disclosed that Government will next week launch a countrywide communal television initiative targeting 500 villages.

She said this is under its digitization agenda to keep rural communities informed and abreast with current affairs in the country and around the world.

And Ms. Siliya who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services said the ongoing cyber law formulation and regulation which is being undertaken by the Ministry of Transport and Communication and not her ministry, is meant to safeguard interests of all online users and not to curtail information flow.

Speaking in an interview, Ms. Siliya said the initiative to provide strategically identified areas across the country with television sets to be housed in community halls or facilities was a major stride as rural communities would access television through the digital migration process.

“This start-up phase of the rural television set placement is a technological advancement among the beneficiary villages as government will extend the initiative by working hand in hand with community leaders to identify needy areas for the free television sets it will strategically mount across the country,” she said.

The Minister of Information added that the process to enact cyber laws was a necessity owing to advancement of Information Communication Technology tools (ICTs) which needed corresponding safeguards for the citizenry.

She said online platforms and ICTS were pivotal towards government’s attainment of various developmental initiatives under its digitization program through the ‘Smart Zambia’ digital migration campaign.

Ms. Siliya said the online or virtual space, if left unchecked was prone falling into wrong hands, and be a breeding ground for cyber financial crimes, false news propagation and character assassination which would be taken and thrive as norms among sections of society.

“The coming up of the cyber protection regulations is to have an online policing legal framework which will keep in check against any online transgressions because certain individuals perpetrate criminal activities using the internet and its social platforms and not as a target against journalists,” she said.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting services clarified that the cyber laws are not targeted at infringing the rights of journalists in their practice through restrictions but ensure they responsibly ply their trade through factual and non-alarmist false news publication.

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