Don't restrict social media: Turkey

HARARE - Social media restrictions must not be enforced in democratic countries as they may trigger citizens’ resistance, Turkish ambassador to Zimbabwe Kadir Hidayet Eris said.

In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Eris said as Internet connectivity increases, information cannot be hidden from people anymore.

Instead, the envoy said, governments must adapt to the growing societal changes, including the usage of social media.

“The State can only restrict social media for a day when it is extremely necessary but beyond that, they will be met by resistance. Restriction should not exceed limitations of normal democratic processes,” he said.

Eris said only in instances of cyber-attacks should social media restrictions be enforced.

His remarks come as Harare has threatened to clamp-down on cyber “terrorists” whom it accuses of using social media to spread messages that incite public violence during the recent series of anti-President Robert Mugabe protests that have rocked the country.

Last month, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe issued a statement saying there had been a gross and irresponsible use of social media, threatening to arrest the culprits.

Following the threats, a new Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill that will among other provisions give the police power to confiscate computers if they suspect them to have offensive material, has been tabled.

However, Eris said ultimately, the will of the people will prevail if they feel violated as they hold the power to change.

“If there is a democratically-elected leader anywhere in the world, this can be changed by the will of the people. The media can also play a role because if they support the people, it cannot be resisted. The situation in Zimbabwe is very ripe for this,” he said.

Eris had yesterday invited members of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs portfolio committee for a briefing on the Turkish situation after the failed July 15 coup d’état by senior army generals.

During the attempted coup, more than 200 civilians and police officers died, with Turkey announcing a state of emergency.

Fethullah Gulen, the alleged mastermind of the attacks, has been resident in the United States for nearly 20 years.

Comments (3)

social media can be used for the good of the country as a new technology, or development issues by the population not as atool to throw scathing attacks or incite public violence as that does not bring development at all. The same tool was used to destroy once vibrant economies like Libya so why use it for a negative purpose yet it can be used for a positive purpose.

Luciano - 18 August 2016

Luciano wake and smell the coffee. You might be enjoying your ill-gotten wealthy but one thing for sure is Tajamuka uye a new Zimbabwe is in the horizon.

Chasura - 18 August 2016

He who tries to clamp down on social media is like someone trying to stop the sun from shining. Indeed if people a say something through social media, its better , first to listen to what they are saying and give them the feed back. Why rushing to clamp it in the first place. IF people are using social media to express discontent ment about corruption and other social eveils, it would be prudent to look in to those grievance rather than viewing the grievances as TERROR. Otherwise we will not go anywhere as a united Country. Social media represents modernity and its a technological advancement that must not be viewed with enermity. If we address issues at hand or communicate with those raising issues, no one would say SOCIAL MEDIA TERRORISM. Lets emrace social media and work together for the betterment of our beautiful Zimbabwe. indeed we should move away from stone age mentality, where we live with constant fear of our society and its surroundings.

ISHE NEHOREKA - 18 August 2016

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