BY BRENNA MATENDERE
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has warned of bogus health experts who post online information purporting it to be useful in the fight against COVID-19.
Addressing the World Summit on the Information Society yesterday, Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said some of the information could prove disastrous if followed by unsuspecting citizens.
“Currently, the COVID-19 crisis has seen many ‘internet doctors’ churning out prescriptions on social media and the internet for the pandemic. Unfortunately, there is no quality assurance of information posted on the internet. Anyone can post anything and even claim to be an expert,” he said.
“Some of the solutions can even turn out to be harmful, while some of them can add a wealth of useful knowledge. The advent of various technologies and increased interconnectedness has not eliminated the ethics relating to information, but increased ethical concerns in various dimensions.”
Machengete urged people to check the integrity of the information before applying it.
“Individuals can deal with information integrity issues by checking the credentials of authors, verifying the information against a primary source,” he said.
“There is, however, no doubt that we all have the ethical duty to protect the minds of children to ensure that what they consume is morally sound and does not damage them to an extent that makes them adopt unethical ideas and behaviours portrayed in the material shared with them.”
He added: “Society and individuals, have a duty to make sure that solutions posted on the internet in different articles, do not harm their readers, be they medical patients, aspiring businesspeople or those seeking self-help information to improve their lives and relationships.”