Lesotho's Government Is Looking To Possibly Regulate Social Media

Lesotho's government is pondering on introducing a new cyber-security law that will see it regulate the use of social media in the landlocked Southern Afrikan country. Part of the regulation, according to Lesotho's government, is to curb "misinformation that threatens stability".

This was revealed after a cyber security workshop sponsored by Vodacom Lesotho.

“The objective [of the workshop] was, therefore, to bring together experts to share experiences and best practices as well as to open dialogue among various stakeholders to help shape policy considerations and the best possible direction for Lesotho,” Tšepo Ntaopane, Executive Head of Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Lesotho is reported to have said.

Confidential government information has been recently leaked online via social media leading to Lesotho's government raising concerns about social media being used by those wanting to destabilize the country. This in turn led to the Lesotho Communications Authority attempting to shutdown Twitter and Facebook in November 2016 by seeking co-operation from Vodacom Lesotho and Econet Telecom Lesotho.

The draft Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill in Lesotho hopes to address alleged social media "abuse" among other things but will likely have to wait until the Mountain Kingdom has held its snap elections.

Ntaopane explained that the workshop was as a result of government’s concern and Vodacom Lesotho's understanding that people should have freedom of speech which has to be used responsibly.

“So, for us it is an issue of how we balance the government’s concern with issues of the right to freedom of expression. So the workshop was to thrash out these issues in a way to inform the development of a regulatory framework for responsible usage of the cyber space,” added Ntaopane.

Lesotho won't be the first country in Afrika to state its intentions around social media regulation. Recently in 2017, Lesotho's neighbour, South Africa indicated that it is contemplating to regulate social media.

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