General News of Sunday, 28 October 2018
Information Minister designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has said he will back the passage of a law that will crack down on the dissemination of fake news on the country’s cyberspace.
“We are all being used as news spreading outlet and nobody is taking responsibility to [verify] if it’s true or false. I forwarded it, as received. And we have become participants of sharing false news,” he told the Appointments Committee of Parliament Friday when he appeared before it.
He continued: “In the past, you will hold the broadcaster accountable. But today, because of the democratization of media everybody is sharing and nobody is taking responsibility. So, in some jurisdictions like Kenya, that Act has been passed. I share the view that we should begin to legislate against false news on social media.”
He added: “The fake news that we are talking about is often in the cyberspace and I am very very attracted to the thought of considering how we can legislate against the sharing of fake news in the cyberspace, as part of the cybersecurity risk that we must look at and contain. I am very open to that proposal.”
The Kenyan example
Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta in May this year signed into law a bill that criminalises abuse on social media and the spread of false information.
The bill allows for a fine of up to $50.000, two years of jail term or both to be imposed on any individual who will deliberately disseminate false information on social media.
The Act, according to the Mr. Kenyatta’s official website “provides for timely and effective detection, prohibition, prevention, response, investigation and prosecution of computer and cybercrimes.”
It is called the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act 2018, and its scope is large: The bill covers activity from cyber-bullying to child pornography, false publications and illegal monitoring of data.