THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa-Zimbabwe) has blasted the internet slowdown on Sunday at a time when the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa was holding its campaign rally, impacting media coverage of the event.
In a statement yesterday, Misa said slowing down internet bandwidth impacted the media negatively, preventing it from livestreaming the event.
A statement by international internet watchdog Netblocks confirmed a significant slowing of internet services for many users in Zimbabwe on Sunday as the CCC rally was taking place at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare.
“The incident impacted multiple operators and has prevented livestreaming from the Yellow Sunday demonstration by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, which seeks to unseat the ruling Zanu PF,” read the Netblocks statement.
Misa-Zimbabwe legal and information communication technology policy officer Nompilo Simanje told NewsDay that internet shutdown prevented citizens from exercising their right to communication.
“It is our position as Misa Zimbabwe that we are against any throttling of the internet, or any form of restrictions on the use of internet, especially during this period of electoral campaigns, with the by-elections coming on March 26, and the general elections in 2023,” she said.
“At this point, we want to reach out to all the players in the telecommunications industry, the regulator Potraz [Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe] as well as the Ministry of Information Communication Technology to ensure that during this season, people will have access to information and exercise their political rights.”
Simanje said internet connectivity should not be restricted so that people access information, which is their constitutional rights.