Plan to monitor communication in Zimbabwe runs into opposition

Published: Saturday 30 September 2006

Monitoring Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's opposition and civil society groups are up in arms against a proposed law to monitor communications. The bill proposes a monitoring centre, apparently with Chinese technology, that would eavesdrop on telephone, Internet and other communications in the country.

The bill enjoins Internet service providers (isps) to install equipment that would be an interface between the isp and the monitoring service. "This equipment would have to be installed at the expense of the isp," said Jim Holland, head of Zimbabwe's isp union. The government has defended the proposal in the name of national security. But critics say that the bill does not have any provision for decisions to be reviewed by the judiciary."An aggrieved person is given a right to appeal to the Minister of Communications, who is neither independent nor impartial. He authorises the monitoring in the first place," argued Wilbert Mandinde, legal officer of the Media Institute for Southern Africa in Zimbabwe.

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