The Zambian government has issued a warning against the spread of fake news, cautioning individuals who engage in the dissemination of false information with serious legal consequences. Thabo Kawana, the Director Spokesperson in the Ministry of Information and Media, addressed the press this morning, emphasizing the gravity of creating and publicizing forged documents.
According to Mr. Kawana, those responsible for fabricating documents and presenting them as authentic are in violation of Section 344 of the penal code, Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia. He stated, “People who are making forged documents purporting them to be true when in fact they are not are committing an offense.”
The government’s warning comes in response to the circulation of fake documents on various platforms, including the Patriotic Front, GrandStone Television Zambia, and Fred Namakando M’membe’s Facebook pages. Mr. Kawana confirmed that these pages had published two fraudulent documents, one claiming to be issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, and the other purportedly originating from State House.
Dismissing these documents as fake, Mr. Kawana emphasized that neither the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security nor State House had issued any such documents. He called upon the authors of the documents to reveal their sources, describing them as a concoction by unknown individuals.
Furthermore, Mr. Kawana addressed a fake email allegedly sent to the UPND Secretary General and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence. The email claimed to express grievances with the Catholic Church and included names, including that of the President. The Media Director confirmed the email’s falsity, reiterating that there is no existing dispute between the government and the Catholic Church.
In fact, Mr. Kawana stressed the cordial and longstanding relationship between the government and the Catholic Church, based on consultation and partnership. He emphasized that the government engages with institutions, not individuals, and that recent discussions between government officials and the Chairperson of the Council of Catholic Bishops exemplify this approach.
“The church and government serve the same people who form congregations on Saturday and Sunday in our various churches,” Mr. Kawana stated. He clarified that communication between the government and the Catholic Church occurs through direct engagement and pastoral letters.
In conclusion, the Zambian government is cracking down on the spread of fake news, warning individuals behind the creation and dissemination of false documents of the serious legal repercussions they may face. The government reiterated its amicable relationship with the Catholic Church, emphasizing its commitment to consultation and partnership on matters of national importance.
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