Editorial: Plans to regulate social media timely

As the fifth edition of the Transform Africa Summit opens again in Kigali this week technological mavericks and tech firms from around the world are already packing their bags.

Today the summit has taken place in the bucket list of who-is-who in ICT and new technologies. High on the agenda will be the misuse of social media that seems to have caught many social media platforms on the wrong footing.

In these days of ‘fake news”, analytics of people’s behaviour, misinformation, spreading hate speech and fanning extremism, it is not free speech as some would want us to believe.  Trolls have morphed into cyber terrorists and unless something is done, they will get out of hand.

In Rwanda we know what hate speech can lead to, we know its power if left unchecked. Even as we speak, there many groups out there who have made it their private vendetta, to attack Rwanda and its leadership, deny or trivialize the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and spreading the Genocide ideology.

So it is welcome news that Rwanda is not lying idle and it is mulling ways to regulate social media, and as the minister in charge of ICT recently informed the parliament, it will be discussed at length during the summit.

Obviously we should expect some opposition on the proposed regulation with some equating id to muzzling free speech, but we will live with it. The priority is to protect our people, at whatever the cost or numbers of feathers rattled.




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