A MEDIA rights advocacy organisation has condemned the banning of bulk text messages by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz), saying it was a violation of rights to freedom of expression as stated in the new Constitution.
In a statement, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)-Zimbabwe Chapter said they were concerned at the timing of the ban.
“Misa-Zimbabwe is concerned by the timing of this alleged ban when the country is going through this critical transition phase which in itself needs diverse avenues for access to information,” the organisation said.
Potraz issued a directive blocking the delivery of bulk messages ahead of Wednesday’s elections.
Bulk text messaging had become a popular medium of communicating information to a large population.
“The move by Potraz is retrogressive in the light of the new Constitution Section 61(1) (a), which clearly states that every person has the right to freedom of expression which includes freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and information,” Misa said.
The organisation’s director Nhlanhla Ngwenya described the move as cowardly and a fear of free-flowing information.
“This cowardly fear of the free flow of information is a stark reminder of the fact that the credibility of these elections should not only be measured against the prevailing peaceful environment, but a range of freedoms available to Zimbabweans to make informed choices as enunciated in the new Constitution’s Bill of Rights and regional protocols on the conduct of democratic elections,” he added.