PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has hinted at plans to introduce more stringent monitoring of the internet and other social media platforms in attempts to reduce the abuse of the technology by Zimbabweans.
Mugabe was addressing party supporters on Saturday as he returned from a five-day state visit to Japan.
He took time to unpack the different deals agreed with Tokyo while praising the Asians for being behind some of the world’s most fascinating technological inventions.
Mugabe said the Japanese were much ahead in cell phone and computer-based communication systems.
He was, however, quick to caution the technology was also being abused by many to lampoon each other.
“There is a lot of filth in it (social media). There are a lot of serious insults peddled in there. A lot of abuses; some are now using it in negative ways. It is widespread,” Mugabe said in Shona.
The 92 year old leader said his government would consider going the Chinese way which has seen the populous Asian economic giant introduce measures to curb social media abuse.
“China set up security measures and we will soon look into how they are administering it so that the abuses and insults can be reduced.”
China’s Internet control apparatus is considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country in the world.
Authorities do not only block website content but also monitor the Internet access of individuals.
Amnesty International notes that China has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world.
Offences include communicating with groups abroad, signing online petitions, and calling for reform and an end to corruption.
The size of the Chinese Internet police force was reported to be 2 million in 2013.
President Mugabe is a favorite target of many for social media ridicule through memes.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights reported last month that up to 150 Zimbabweans have been arrested since 2010 for alleged Mugabe insults and these include those made via Whatsapp and Facebook.