Advocacy for Child Justice (ACJ) has expressed concern over the recent violations of children’s rights to privacy and dignity by socialites, vloggers and social media personalities.
Organisation Executive Director, Josephat Njobvu, stated that videos, images and audio recordings featuring minors, circulated online, blatantly disregard the laws of Zambia and infringe upon the fundamental rights of the children.
Njobvu in a statement issued in Lusaka on Monday stated that in recent weeks, videos, pictures and audios featuring named vloggers had emerged online.
“These recordings depict the alleged child of a specific vlogger and another individual. Such actions violate the rights of the child as established by Zambian laws,” he noted.
Njobvu noted that it was initially the children of a well-known Zambian musician, but now it was the child of one of the vloggers, whose images had circulated widely on social media platforms.
He added that in the video clips, the vloggers were heard discussing the child’s parentage, thereby subjecting the child to potential social media bullying, which contradicts Zambia’s laws on safeguarding children.
“It is unacceptable to exploit the vulnerabilities of our communities for personal gain, especially at the expense of innocent children,” Njobvu stated.
He advised government and stakeholders to address these issues promptly and enforce existing laws protecting children from privacy breaches, exploitation and online abuse.
Njobvu referenced the Children’s Code Act No.12 of 2022, sections 24 and 46, which states that a child had the right to privacy and protected from exposure to the media.
“The CCA, No.12 of 2022 further provides for sanctions and if any one wilfully or negligently infringes these rights commits an offence and such a one is liable, on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or depending on the facts of the case, to community service,” he highlighted.
Njobvu said while the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act No. 2 of 2021 does not explicitly address online protection of children’s privacy, it prohibits the publication of information compromising the safety and security of individuals, which includes children.
He added that section 69 of the same Act criminalizes electronic communication intended to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause emotional distress, with severe penalties.
“Furthermore, the Criminal (Penal) Code prohibits the production, circulation, distribution, or harboring of materials intended to corrupt morals or threaten the safety and security of any person,” Njobvu stated
He called on the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) and the Police Cyber Crime Unit to identify and prosecute the producers and distributors of these harmful materials.
Njobvu said their actions endangered the future of vulnerable children and must not go unpunished.
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