HRC calls on government to immediately restore Internet services – Zambia: News Diggers!

THE Human Rights Commission called on the government to immediately restore internet services, saying the shutdown has the potential to create suspicion, speculation and disinformation in the handling of election results.

In a statement on Friday, Mwandenga said the apparent shutdown of internet services was a violation of a constitutional right to freedom of expression and information.

“The Human Rights Commission (HRC / Commission) calls on the government to restore with immediate effect Internet services to promote the right of access to information and communication via social media platforms. The Commission is deeply concerned that at a time when citizens in general rely on social media platforms to communicate and access information relating to the electoral process, the internet appears to have been closed, thus depriving them of the right to vote. information. The apparent shutdown of Internet services is a violation of a constitutional right to freedom of expression and information as there are no existing legitimate circumstances that justify the reduction and / or limitations of the right to access the Internet. ‘information,’ he said.

Mwandenga further said that blocking the internet service had the potential to create suspicion and disinformation in the handling of election results, which could lead to violence.

He added that the said Internet shutdown act suggested repressive regimes that were contrary to the principles of good governance of transparency and accountability.

“At worst, the act of shutting down the Internet is undemocratic and is reminiscent of repressive regimes that go against the principles of good governance of transparency and accountability and thrive by preventing the public from participating in critical governance issues. Therefore, the Commission calls on the government, through the respective agencies responsible for managing the local Internet gateway, to unblock the Internet and allow the use of applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook, ”Mwandenga said.

“Social media platforms are the main sources of information and communication for most citizens, especially young people. Blocking the internet service has the potential to create suspicion, speculation and misinformation in the handling of election results and can lead to anxiety and possibly violence. It is therefore unnecessary to create tensions as the electoral process draws to a close and the country is almost recovering from the political and electoral violence that characterized the campaign period.

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