Internet blockage an affront to human rights

The government of Zimbabwe has blocked social media and internet since Tuesday 15 January 2019 around 8am as the shutdown protests sparked by fuel prices escalated.

The government’s argument is that social media is being used to mobilize and incite violence.

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights condems the violence that occurred during the protests and also condemns the internet blockage by the government of Zimbabwe.

Surely people do not need social media to organize and mobilize violence. They can do it even without social media. The continued looting of shops on Tuesday even though internet was cut is clear testimony of that.

Furthermore, the government needs to realize that cutting internet connection and social media use not only stops the spread of fake and inciteful news on social media but also violates the enjoyment of other rights and freedoms such as right to personal security, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and freedom of the media, access to information, freedom of profession, trade and occupation, and right to education.

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights is an independent human rights watchdog based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and exists to enhance the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms by the people of Matabeleland.

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