CSOs up in support of internet freedoms

CSOs up in support of internet freedoms
Published: 16 April 2018 (1067 Views)
The internet has given a 'few' willing Zimbabweans a room to open up, demonstrate and petition against injustices perpetrated by the socio-economic and political power block.

The digital room 'public sphere' provided by the internet has improved the engagement of activists, civic society, political parties and the public in general.

Habermas describes a public sphere as "made up of private people gathered together as a public and articulating the needs of society with the state". This shows that the state is also involved in democratising its people.

However, with all the goodies brought about by the internet, the Zimbabwean government is trying by all means to strengthen its loose bolts towards internet governance and internet freedoms.

'There is a strong interplay between media and democracy, we can not prioritise one and understate the other', said Dr Ruhanya, the Director at Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI).

Holding a symposium at Harare club, ZDI and Media Centre emphasized the need to build consensus around a right based approach to internet governance in Zimbabwe.

'Internet freedoms are freedoms due to human beings either online or offline. Citizens must be free to express themselves online as long as it is constitutionally guaranteed', said Bekezela Gumbo, the Principal Researcher at ZDI.

'It has become an international agenda that the internet must be a public good that is accessible, secure and reliable', added Gumbo.

According to Dr Ruhanya, the internet/ public sphere is not democratic; it is gendered, tribalistic, and regulated (in other words, it is exclusive). There is need to also take note of agenda setting and internet regulation.

'Many restrictive laws, regulations and projects have been put in place to stifle internet freedoms in Zimbabwe', said Gumbo.

Therefore, there is urgent need for the government to revise its draconian laws. The civic society must also not tire in pushing the government for policy change.

 'The internet presents an alternative platform for communication at 'policy level', therefore, the youth and activists must use that to push for policy reforms', said Gift Ostallos Siziba, a youth, social justice activist and human rights defender.

Most rural communities in Zimbabwe suffer from limited internet freedoms. Data is expensive, only a few privileged can afford. '60% of the Zimbabwean population reside in rural areas, therefore, when we talk of democracy and internet freedoms they must be catered for', said Gumbo.

According to ZDI-Media Centre advocacy paper titled 'Internet freedom challenges in rural areas: Digital discrimination', internet access and use in rural areas is critical for providing the basis for active participation in human rights governance and democratization process in Zimbabwe.

'Let's take democracy to the peripheries not talking of democracy in hotels. Given thought leadership in hotels, let's take democracy and the strategies to policy makers and the vulnerable', said Dr Ruhanya.

- Francis Tshabalala

Tags: internet, CSO, ZDI,

You May Like These Videos


There are no comments.

Latest stories

How much power do politicians possess and who gives it to them?

by Erick Matotoba | 20 July 2018 | 67 Views

What now comrades 2?

by Tatenda Magumise | 20 July 2018 | 77 Views

Govt is not influencing Zec: Mnangagwa tells the elders

by Mafu Sithabile | 20 July 2018 | 105 Views

The role of the Church in this election

by Erick Matotoba | 20 July 2018 | 52 Views

BREAKING: Undenge sentenced to five years in jail

by Byo24News reporter | 20 July 2018 | 90 Views

Mnangagwa's govt pressures Zesa to pay Chivayo $52m

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 82 Views

Army responds to farmer eviction story

by Staff Writer. | 20 July 2018 | 62 Views

Mnangagwa's nasty fallout with cleric

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 68 Views

Mugabe's son-in-law pocketing obscene salary

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 84 Views

Chamisa should now rethink its strategy

by Faith Zaba | 20 July 2018 | 56 Views

Zimbabwe judges, generals and post-coup dynamics

by Andrew Kunambura | 20 July 2018 | 52 Views

Chiwenga 'betrays' Zanu-PF, reveals open secret

by Stephen Jakes | 20 July 2018 | 78 Views

Mohadi returns from SA

by Stephen Jakes | 20 July 2018 | 38 Views

Chamisa vs Democracy

by Anthony Mukondo | 20 July 2018 | 51 Views

Zimbabwe postal vote row fuels political tensions

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 57 Views

July 30 election: Not free, fair or credible

by Ibbo Mandaza & Tony Reeler | 20 July 2018 | 56 Views

Mnangagwa govt hunts for $2bn funding

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 63 Views

Chamisa popularity shoots up

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 70 Views

WATCH: Chamisa after meeting Annan

by Ndou Paul | 20 July 2018 | 74 Views

Wimbo's followers will remain Zanu-PF supporters

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 54 Views

Two Zimra officials acquitted

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 47 Views

WATCH: Chigumba is not resigning as ZEC chairwoman

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 58 Views

Zimbabwe: Politics of false hope.

by Collen Madziva | 20 July 2018 | 120 Views

G40 elements working with MDC Alliance to derail elections

by Lloyd Msipa | 20 July 2018 | 290 Views

Mutare ready for Mnangagwa's 2nd coming

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 130 Views

Chiwenga salutes Crocodile Gang member Ndangana

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 165 Views

Dr Thokozani Khupe MDC-T makes fresh demands to Zec

by Staff Reporter | 20 July 2018 | 211 Views

Zanu-PF's Pemhanayi steps aside for Madiro

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 108 Views

'Studying for the Grave'

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 126 Views

Bantu buys Mutare City Rovers

by Staff reporter | 20 July 2018 | 109 Views