The Legality Of Internet Shutdowns In Zimbabwe

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ABSTRACT

In an ever-increasingly global age, the world has become dependent on the internet

for communication purposes and transacting, the internet has become a conduit

through which people exercise realise their rights. The internet provides enhanced

connectivity of persons and offers a platform for free expression. The internet has

further become a conduit through which individuals can realise the right to freedom of

expression. Autocratic governments that feel threatened by the difficulty of regulating

the internet have resorted to shutting down entire communication systems leaving their

citizens stranded and frustrated. Governments have been overtaken by technological

developments which have been particularly rapid in the 21st Century. As such in

situations where legislation fails to regulate modern communication structures, this

leads to undesirable situations where governments use outdated legislation which

does not grant authority to act in such a manner. The study answers the question of

whether internet shutdowns are legal in Zimbabwe and in so doing examines the

impact of internet shutdowns on the right to the freedom of expression. The study

explores the relationship between the internet and the right to freedom of expression

examining the boundaries of free expression and the circumstances under which as a

right it can be limited. The study identifies how in order for rights to be limited such

limit should be proportional, provided for in the law and should seek to serve a

legitimate aim. An analysis of Zimbabwe’s constitutional provisions on the right to

freedom of expression and how they reverberate with international principles on the

right to freedom of expression. An examination of the scope of government’s powers

in respect of the Interception of Communications Act in order to determine if there is

in place a legal framework that authorises the shutting down of the Internet is

conducted. In line with this is a consideration of the possible justifications for shutting

down communications which include the need for the preservation of the national

security. The study encompasses perspectives from the jurisdiction of Pakistan in

order to obtain insight into the justifiability of internet shutdowns in a modern

democratic society. It is arrived at a conclusion that internet shutdowns have no place

in Zimbabwean law as there is no legislation that so provides for such a phenomenon.

Furthermore, the justifiability of shutting down communications for whole communities

is a drastic and draconian move. Recommendations are thereby proffered to the

government on how best it can maintain national security without depriving entire

populations of their ability to communicate freely.

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APA

MAKUNI, J (2021). The Legality Of Internet Shutdowns In Zimbabwe. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/the-legality-of-internet-shutdowns-in-zimbabwe

MLA 8th

MAKUNI, JOSEPH "The Legality Of Internet Shutdowns In Zimbabwe" Afribary. Afribary, 01 May. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/the-legality-of-internet-shutdowns-in-zimbabwe. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

MLA7

MAKUNI, JOSEPH . "The Legality Of Internet Shutdowns In Zimbabwe". Afribary, Afribary, 01 May. 2021. Web. 31 Jan. 2023. < https://afribary.com/works/the-legality-of-internet-shutdowns-in-zimbabwe >.

Chicago

MAKUNI, JOSEPH . "The Legality Of Internet Shutdowns In Zimbabwe" Afribary (2021). Accessed January 31, 2023. https://afribary.com/works/the-legality-of-internet-shutdowns-in-zimbabwe