On October 1 2013, the Government of Zimbabwe enacted a law that allows the state to spy on the phone records, text messages and Internet communications of its citizens. While the majority of people in Zimbabwe access news through print media, the law has serious implications for the growing percentage of the Zimbabwean population that access the Internet and in particular, for the middle-class and youth populations that actively use social media. In order to educate Internet users and the greater population of Zimbabwe about the implications of this law, Centre Stage Media Arts implemented a short term awareness-raising project, publishing information about the law and its potential effects through social media, as well as through 16 articles in regional and national mainstream media.
The project increased awareness of the state’s surveillance of citizen Web communications and has resulted in greater engagement (seen particularly in comments and posts on social media) in issues surrounding government surveillance. For example, between January 19-25 2014, there was an intense debate on social network sites in Zimbabwe on the State’s monitoring of the Web communications of private citizens after a teenager was arrested for posting on Facebook a message to the effect that the State President had died.
Contact: Paul Sixpence <firstname.lastname@example.org>