Na­tional se­cu­rity at the ex­pense of hu­man rights

Sunday Observer - - NEWS -

With gov­ern­ments adamant that their poli­cies curb­ing the abuse of so­cial me­dia is jus­ti­fied by the need to pro­tect hu­man rights, Richard Mu­longa noted that hu­man rights be­come com­pro­mised in the process.

“Does it mean it is so­cial me­dia abuse when I say some­thing you don’t like or when I de­mand for trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity? Hold­ing power to ac­count?” he said, adding how there was con­tes­ta­tion about what should be pri­ori­tised in this dilemma, na­tional se­cu­rity or hu­man rights.

He stated how it was dis­ap­point­ing to note that even though na­tional se­cu­rity was not de­fined, it is used as and when it suits the state.

“The law pro­vides for search and seizure, mean­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer or any law en­force­ment agent may search and seize your equip­ment (com­puter, cell­phone, iPad, tablets, note­books etc) with­out a court or­der.”

He called for in­ter­net gov­er­nance (IG), which is the process of how the in­ter­net is gov­erned to guar­an­tee cit­i­zens’ dig­i­tal rights; “IG en­tails par­tic­i­pa­tion from all stake­hold­ers- gov­ern­ment, me­dia, blog­gers, CSO, reg­u­la­tors, law en­force­ment, pri­vate sec­tor and cit­i­zens.”

He called for dig­i­tal rights, which he said are crit­i­cal hu­man rights, to be re­spected both on­line and off­line. “All laws and re­stric­tions that are nec­es­sary to gov­ern the in­ter­net must be in true pub­lic in­ter­est, ac­cord­ing to in­ter­na­tional norms and stan­dards and they must in­volve all stake­hold­ers.”

As con­clu­sion, he called for all to re­mem­ber that in­ter­net rights col­late with hu­man rights, hence there should be free­dom of speech on­line and off­line; “The in­ter­net is the only free, open, in­clu­sive and avail­able space for cit­i­zen en­gage­ment.”

He stated how more cit­i­zens use the in­ter­net to par­tic­i­pate on gov­er­nance and to de­mand for trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity from duty bear­ers

“Free­dom of ex­pres­sion en­tails that an in­di­vid­ual has the right to ex­press any view that he or she wishes, for as long as cit­i­zens are not vi­o­lat­ing each other’s rights,” adding, he said free­dom of speech was the ba­sis upon which cit­i­zens are free to scru­ti­nise the ac­tions of lead­ers whom they have demo­crat­i­cally elected as there is a cor­re­la­tion be­tween free­dom of ex­pres­sion and the democ­racy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Swaziland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.