ENOUGH IS ENOUGH…French lead the way in confronting cyberbullies…Mob’s attack on Chief Jose should be the red line

Robson Sharuko

Editor

AT some point, every country decides a red line has been crossed and uses its powers to tame a public menace and nuisance be it drugs or substance abuse.

Or, this could be something related to the huge army of bullies who have transformed themselves into the monsters of the cyberspace landscape.

“We’re currently in a cyberbullying pandemic,” noted a think tank, which has been compiling data on this monster.

“Over 60% of children and 40% of adults have been targeted by cyberbullies. And, if you look at the trends, those numbers are likely to keep going up in the future.

“For victims, cyberbullying can cause intense mental, emotional, and physical trauma.”

In France this week, the country’s justice system finally decided that a red line was crossed in the nation’s biggest cyberbullying case which has been raging for the past few months.

Twenty-eight people were jailed for up to 18 months after the judges found the accused guilty of harassing Magali Berdah, one of the most influential social media personalities in France.

A French rapper, Booba, had spearheaded the social media campaign against Berdah.

The accused, who are aged between 20 and 49, received jail terms ranging from four to 18 months, some of which were suspended.

“My life was destroyed for two years because of this,” said Berdah. “Finally, I’ve been recognised as a victim.”

Berdah’s lawyers said this ruling was significant because, from now onwards, no one in France will bully others without being worried of the consequences, including the possibility that they could go to jail.

The landmark French ruling came in the same week that we have been dealing with the shocking attack on businessmen – Tazvi Mhaka and Wicknell Chivayo – in a case in which a photoshopped image was used to try and destroy their marriages.

The cyber bullies used their photoshopped image to try and suggest that Mhaka, who is widely known as Chief Jose, was having an extramarital affair with Chivayo’s wife, Sonja.

The mob took a picture of Chief Jose and his wife, removed the face of the wife and replaced it with Chivayo’s wife, to try and suggest the two were having an illicit affair.

What the mob didn’t realise was that the family picture was taken at the early stages of Chief Jose’s marriage, when Sonja was probably still in school.

“While I typically refrain from dignifying such malicious rumours with a response, the gravity of these accusations demands clarification for the sake of my family, friends, business associates, and social media followers,” said Chief Jose.

While Chief Jose’s intervention has helped to expose the LIE, the damage that this has done on his family, and Wicknell’s family, is huge.

That is why the country’s authorities should, just like their French counterparts, take a hardline stance to ensure that there will be consequences for those who launch such reckless attacks on individuals.

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