Cabinet’s desire to impose E10million fine on citizens who exercise their Constitutional right to freedom of expression on digital platforms will remain a dream, government does not have enough resources and human intelligence to deal with the dynamics of the fourth industrial revolution.
The Times Sunday reported that citizens might be fined up to E10million for expressing themselves on digital media and this demonstrates a huge desperation by a government with a weak security.
Firstly, it is important to note that even ‘Tingculungculu’ the highest investigation unit within the law- enforcement agency has been exposing the weakness of our security system by grabbing cell-phones of independent journalists and political activists because they lack resources to remotely monitor communications through emails, whatsap, Facebook and other popular communications platforms.
Under normal circumstances, laws are enacted to promote justice, peace, stability and regulate human conduct but in our country the justice system is manipulated to strengthen dictatorship and oppress the people.
But then, considering our government’s weak security system it is possible that no police officer was ever trained on online investigation and this would be one of the most complicated investigations for our officers.
Online investigation does not only require well trained human resources but intelligence because of the ever-changing dynamics of technology.
The truth of the matter is, we can have the law but it would be difficult to implement it and the system should blame itself for destroying and suppressing intelligent people, now they have a huge problem to control a society that is quickly adopting digital platforms to communicate, questioning the legitimacy of the current political system.
It is true that government might be targeting online newspapers with this law, again, that would be a difficult task because of the ever-changing dynamics of the fourth industrial revolution.
Even online journalists require consistent training on digital media, managing the audience and accurately disseminating information, then how can mere police officers who were trained to physically torture citizens controls technology? The only thing that government can do is to collaborate with the two local newspapers, Times and Observer and try to intimidate the people with heavy fines, otherwise, this will remain a ghost story.
The captured newspapers will definitely give huge mileage to such laws to try and intimidate the people because digital media is threatening their businesses with possible retrenchments.
The story regarding the death of top coach Thabo ‘Koki’ Vilakati proved how useless the traditional media has become as by the time the newspapers published, the audience had long read the story and those close to the deceased had even passed condolences. It is therefore in the interest of both government and the captured newspapers to try and intimidate the people not to express themselves on digital media as a way of saving their businesses and protecting the current oppressive political system, however, only the low-minded will be intimidated by such ‘ghost stories’.
Even though government consistently receive advises from the captured editors behind the scenes on how to control information to make sure the people remain ignorant, the truth of the matter is that some of these editors are elderly who don’t understand technology, they can only publish such ‘ghost stories’ in the front page with the hope that the Nation will be intimidated.
National Commissioner of Police William Dlamini