5-year jail term for distributing nudes

People get locked for exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression

PARLIAMENT heard yesterday that citizens preferred a five-year jail term for people who take and distribute nude videos and pictures without the victim’s consent.
This is contained a report by Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT).


The report was presented in the National Assembly on Wednesday by Hurungwe North MP Ability Gandawa (Zanu PF) during the Second Reading of the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill.
Gandawa said during public hearings on the Bill, people suggested that clause 163 of the Bill should stipulate that anyone who forwarded or distributed messages of a criminal nature should be sanctioned.

“Some stakeholders proposed that on clause 164(f), the Bill should also include terminology that criminalises the recording of up skirting and nudity,” Gandawa said.

“It was suggested that any person who unlawfully and intentionally records an image or video without the person’s consent should be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 10 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or both.”

On clause 165 which deals with child pornography, Gandawa said members of the public suggested that the term “child pornography” should be replaced with the term “child sexual abuse material” throughout the Bill.

This will be to ensure that the Bill focuses on the law towards other child sexual harassment and violence-related cases within the cyber space.

“Children’s representatives submitted that there is need to accommodate the right to be heard when considering consent given on behalf of children. Stakeholders submitted that there should be a provision for data processors and service providers to protect and ensure children’s rights are upheld.

“It was mentioned that the Bill should incorporate the five co-provisions, namely a clear minimum age, age limit to consent, protection of accounts that are opened by those under 18 years, management of inappropriate or illegal content forced on their platforms, use of age verifications in identity authentication solutions. There should be clear safeguard to ensure children’s rights online,” he said.

On protection of whistleblowers, the ICT committee said people emphasised that most cases of corruption were unearthed by whistleblowers, hence the need for protection.
“The public underscored the need to put necessary safeguards to protect the whistleblowers in the statute, as well as other concrete steps in the handling of investigations that result from whistleblower revelations.”

ICT minister Jenfan Muswere, who had moved the Second Reading Stage of the Bill, said its purpose was to consolidate cyber-related offences and provide for data protection with regards to the declaration of rights under the Constitution and the public and national interest, to establish a cyber security centre and a data protection authority, among other functions.

Muswere said the Bill would deal with the transmission of data messages inciting violence or damage to property, and protection of citizens from receiving threatening messages.

“Clause 164(b) deals with cyber bulling and harassment, it also deals with any data message or intimidation which is sent to coerce, harass or intimidate.

“In 164(c), in section 6, the Bill proposes to punish any person who distributes, makes available or broadcasts data containing an identifiable person knowing it to be false intending to cause psychological or economic harm,” Muswere said.