It has been 26 years since the Internet was introduced to Zimbabwe. At the time of its introduction it was the preserve of a few academic researchers, then its use slowly expanded to include commercial users.
Currently, the Internet is accessible to an estimated 50% of Zimbabweans who according to statistics, access it mainly on mobile devices such as cellphones and Tablets.
The popularity of instant messaging Apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and lately Twitter has spurred the rise of a new wave of netizens who rely on Internet connectivity for convenient, affordable, and instant communication. It is without a doubt that the Internet is now firmly embedded in the day to day lives of most Zimbabweans, making the protection and promotion of Internet freedoms more essential than ever.
A safe, accessible Internet is the cornerstone of free expression, association of similarly minded individuals, and access to information. This safety and accessibility should be protected at all costs and the violation of human rights online should be documented. This edition of MISA Zimbabwe’s 2017 Digital Rights Report takes a look at the events which had an impact on digital rights within Zimbabwean cyberspace. It is an important edition of the Digital Rights report series because of the dynamic political and socio-economic changes which were experienced in Zimbabwe during 2017.
These events were reflected in online discourse further proving the fact that the online and offline worlds are now firmly merged, and that rights which were traditionally viewed in an offline context now need to be protected in online environments as well.
Download a copy of the Digital Rights Report 2017 here.