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Government will not regulate social media

Government will not regulate social media

FREEDOM: Deputy minister of ICT Engel Nawatiseb (center) flanked by UNICEF representatives and Heads of Media organisations at the recently held World Press Freedom day in Windhoek. Photo Aili Iilonga

Aili Iilonga

DEPUTY Minister of Information, Communication and Technology, Engel Nawatiseb, has assured Namibians that government has no intention on regulating the use of social media despite the rising trend in the spread of ‘fake news’ across digital media platforms.

He was speaking at the celebration of world press freedom day, held in Windhoek today.

Nawatiseb noted that as social media users living in the world of technology,

citizens should be aware of ‘fake news’ and develop skills of verifying

information as there has been an increase in ‘fake news’ that has the potential to cause confusion.

The deputy minister also said that although Namibia has scooped first position in press freedom in Africa, more needs to be done to effective minimise the trend of ‘fake news’ that make rounds on social media platforms without factual and concrete content.

“Government does not have intentions to regulate social media, which has been used frequently as a tool to launch attacks on victims,” he said.

Nawatiseb also gave the latest development on the access to information bill, saying that the draft bill is ready to be tabled in parliament.

“We just receive the draft bill, which is ready to be tabled in parliament soon. Once the bill has been passed on and put into law, it will guarantee absolute access to information,” he said.

He urged media practitioners to not shy away from pointing out government institutions that are not adhering to the bill as his ministry is “watchdogs in ensuring that information concerning the government is provided to the people.”

“It is the fundamental human right to be informed on anything concerning the government and if any government institution withholds, we as the ministry are there to serve as watchdogs, so report such cases to us,” he said.

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