Zimbabweans are now able to access social media websites following a High Court ruling on Monday.
A high court judge ruled that the Minister of State in the Presidents office for National Security, Owen Ncube, does not have the authority to issue any orders to shut down the internet. This makes the orders he issued last week illegal. MISA Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights challenged the internet and social media blockade at the high court following last week’s orders by government.
Government had ordered internet service providers to block social media on 15 January 2019. WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media apps were blocked whilst the rest of the internet was working.
Zimbabweans relied on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) such as Psiphon to access social media. The government made effort to also block some VPN services but this did not affect all of them. Given the blocking of WhatsApp, Zimbabweans resorted to using alternative apps, like Telegram, that were not blocked, to message each other.