The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia has expressed concern over the circulation of unverified reports on social media which have the potential to cause chaos and negative effects on the lives of many citizens.
MISA Zambia Chairperson Hellen Mwale said that they are concerned about the reports that have come from the Copperbelt and other areas across the country concerning the suspected ritual killings and other speculations been spread through social media.
Ms Mwale said the misuse of social media by people with vested interests to harm the reputation of others while using pseudo names online is worrisome.
She stated that even if social media has enabled citizens to share news and stay abreast with events occurring around them, social media should not be abused.
MISA Zambia wishes to call upon members of the public who abuse social media to desist from doing so and henceforth stop the spread of falsehoods as this has the potential to cause panic and alarm.She said.
Ms Mwale added that social media should be a platform used to inform the public and form constructive debate and dialogue on issues affecting the people.
She further called on all social media users to verify the authenticity of the news they come across with, as this will help authorities to act effectively.
News and information which is inaccurate can lead to civil unrest because it spreads false information which misleads people and can lead to riotous behaviour or damage an innocent persons’ image.Said Ms Mwale.
Meanwhile, the MISA Zambia Chairperson urged the government to enact the Access to Information bill to deter fake news and circulation of untruthful information.
She appealed to the government through responsible Ministries to continue engaging the media through the issuance of press statements and holding of press briefings promptly as citizens rely on official channels of communication.