CSOs up in support of internet freedoms

CSOs up in support of internet freedoms
Published: 16 April 2018 (1401 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,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Mangudya walks out of meeting with Mthuli Ncube

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 170 Views

BREAKING: Prof. Calistus Ndlovu declared National Hero

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 February 2019 | 93 Views

Mnangagwa attends Zimbabwe International Research Symposium

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 97 Views

Mines tragedy declared national disaster

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 113 Views

Zimbabwe now facing condom crisis

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 124 Views

Zimbabwe looks to tackle telecom fraud with technology

by Agencies | 15 February 2019 | 77 Views

Joshua Nkomo was a dictator?

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 February 2019 | 104 Views

Re-colonising Zimbabwe will not work

by Gift Mashoko | 15 February 2019 | 75 Views

Chamisa saddened by Battlefields mine tragedy

by ZimLive | 15 February 2019 | 89 Views

Tsvangirai was duped by Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 114 Views

2 300 ZUPCO buses offered to Zimbabwe

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 February 2019 | 102 Views

Zanu-PF a sanctuary for thieves

by AT Kadada | 15 February 2019 | 87 Views

The Mnangagwa regime

by Louisa Brooke-Holland | 15 February 2019 | 124 Views

Banks plunge into fresh crisis

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 111 Views

Ex-MDC MP faces jail over bank loan

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 93 Views

Human Rights petitions AU over Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 81 Views

'Is Mnangagwa's govt pro-poor or Queen B?'

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 98 Views

Jilted man demands sex or $1 000

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 85 Views

Number plates shortage: Cops harass motorists

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 90 Views

Calls for Zimbabwe to join Rand Monetary Union grow

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 75 Views

Prophet Magaya and wife did not pay tax on mega salaries

by ZimLive | 15 February 2019 | 73 Views

US cannot be our national dialogue referee

by Christine Lethokuhle Mabhena | 15 February 2019 | 144 Views

The EU Parliament resolutions on Zimbabwe read like Chamisa's script

by Brightface Mutema | 15 February 2019 | 150 Views

Botswana NGOs condemns Zim army for killings

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 February 2019 | 99 Views

Government committed to implementing reforms

by Gift Mashoko | 15 February 2019 | 141 Views

ZCLDN holds drug masterplan roundtable

by ZCLDN | 15 February 2019 | 91 Views

PHOTOS: Wicknell Chivayo visits Mtukudzi's grave

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 February 2019 | 167 Views

Zimbabwe not yet ready for national dialogue

by Terence Simbi | 15 February 2019 | 127 Views

'Investor interest in 2nd Zimbabwe fuel pipeline grows'

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 120 Views

RioZim resumes operations

by Ndou Paul | 15 February 2019 | 120 Views

Fears of imminent maize meal price increases

by GMAZ | 15 February 2019 | 120 Views

Zimbabwe looks to tackle telecom fraud with technology

by Global Voice Group (GVG) | 15 February 2019 | 105 Views

Advocate Jacob Mudenda offside

by Kucaca Phulu | 15 February 2019 | 138 Views

Government silence on battlefields disaster a disgrace

by Jacob Mafume | 15 February 2019 | 96 Views

Haru Mutasa denied UK Visa

by Staff reporter | 15 February 2019 | 113 Views

Chamisa to bring everyone to Harare for a Mother of All Demonstrations

by Staff reportet | 15 February 2019 | 168 Views