Covid-19 Misinformation A National Security Threat – ICT Minister

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

INFORMATION Communication Technology minister, Jenfan Muswere has described Covid-19 misinformation as a national security threat saying it was militating against government’s efforts in fighting the global pandemic.

He was speaking at the official opening of a community information centre in Maphisa, Matabeleland South Friday.

The minister said government had a responsibility to protect its citizens from misinformation through providing reliable information.

“Covid-19 misinformation is the greatest security threat of our time. Indeed, as government, we have an obligation to ensure that citizens are protected from this barrage of misinformation by providing the public with facilities where they can access reliable evidence-based information,” said Muswere.

The minister said by visiting community information centres, members of the public could access reliable information on Covid-19 disseminated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Ministry.

“My ministry will, therefore, spare no efforts in operationalising as many community information centres as we can during this pandemic. We will ensure that more Zimbabweans are kept informed of the pandemic and have access to other ICTs services,” he pledged.

Speaking at the same occasion, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) director-general, Gift Machengete committed to ensuring marginalised communities have access to ICTs so that they can access information easily.

“By way of background, in support of the government policy to provide access to ICT and postal services to all the people of Zimbabwe, POTRAZ came up with the concept of community information centres (CICs), which are housed at post offices throughout the country,” Machengete said.

The director-general said in places where there was no post offices the authority had established containerised village information centres (CVICs).

The Maphisa community information centre is equipped with computers and internet.

For the past few years, POTRAZ has embarked on a nationwide internet connectivity drive particularly in rural and marginalised communities. Under the programme, the postal and telecommunication regulator has operationalised 114 CICs and 24 CVICs in different parts of the country.