Media group laments Zim jamming of Whatsapp

July 6, 2016 1:38 pm1 commentViews: 13

zimHARARE, (CAJ News) – MEDIA rights groups have expressed concern at the disabling of the WhatsApp platform during protests in Zimbabwe.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe chapter condemned the jamming as violation of citizens’ right to freely express themselves and access information through communication platforms of their choice as
guaranteed in the constitution.

“By blocking the popular information sharing tool, Zimbabwe now joins a growing list of despotic regimes that resort to such cowardly acts when faced with growing citizen dissent,” MISA stated.

While it is still to be ascertained whether the blockage was at the behest of the government, alleged threats issued against citizens using social media to express themselves during the protest raise suspicions on its culpability.

As the ongoing strike by government workers commenced, state-run media reported Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, warning citizens against sending subversive messages on social media.

Mandiwanzira reportedly warned government could track origins of messages on over-the-top services and that “those found on the wrong side of the law would be brought to book.”

“These disturbing pronouncements are a repeat of similar threats issued by President Mugabe and Mandiwanzira a few weeks ago against the use of social media to communicate what government deems unpalatable.”

Zimbabwe is besieged by violent protests over the worsening economic
situation.
CAJ News

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