EDITOR — WE are very happy that the broadcasting of nude photographs or videos is now an offence with a prison term running up to five years. This comes at a time regional and even Zimbabwean media outlets hardly go a day without reporting on ‘revenge pornography ‘or other similar vices. This disturbing trend should indeed come to an end.
The distribution of intimate photos or videos of identifiable people with/without their consent on social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Twitter is now a crime under the recently amended Data Protection Act. We hope and pray the law curbs the humiliation and embarrassment of many people that has been happening lately after their images are posted to spite them.
According to POTRAZ general manager Dr Gift Machengete, the sharing of private information illegally now has legal consequences.
“POTRAZ, as the designated Data Protection Authority of Zimbabwe has noted with concern the increasing number of incidents of collection, sharing, distribution and/or broadcasting of intimate images and/or videos without the consent of the person whose intimate images and/or videos would be shared,” he said in the Herald.
It is most welcome that even if there is an option of Level 10 fine, those who forwarded or distribute intimate videos on WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms can face up to five years in prison or both. Intimate images and videos form part of personal information which is now categorised as sensitive data under the Cyber and Data Protection Act. The new Act prohibits the collection, sharing and distribution of sensitive data without the consent of the data subject.
The Cyber and Data Protection Act (Chapter 12:07) as read with Section 164E of Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act) chapter 9:07) prohibits the collection, transfer, sharing and/or broadcasting of intimate images and/or videos without the consent of the person concerned.
We are happy that the law also empowers citizens to have control over the processing of their personal information. Besides members of the public being strongly advised against the collection, sharing or distribution and/or broadcasting of sensitive personal information, including any intimate images and/or videos of any person without the consent of the data subject, people should desist from the habit of taking such. There is really no reason to go about taking nude pictures. Lately, in Zimbabwe, there has been a proliferation of cases in which disgruntled men and women distribute sexually explicit material in a bid to humiliate their ex-partners, this must come to an end.
Hilda Chademana, Avondale, Harare.