EDITOR —The government has just published new regulations to regulate communications in Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF, through the gazetting of the Statutory Instrument 142 of 2013 on Postal and Telecommunications (Subscriber Registration) Regulations wants to violate and deny the people of Zimbabwe their privacy.
The regulations will make it possible for the State agents to interfere with the communication rights of individual Zimbabweans.
As such, they will make Zimbabweans feel more insecure when communicating with each other as they will know that their communications may, without due process, be accessed by State agents.
These regulations therefore, make new postal and telecommunications regulations draconian, unconstitutional and they violate the clear provisions of the Constitution in that effect that every Zimbabwean has a right not to have his or her communications interfered with.
Further, the regulations make it possible for State agents to actually monitor the content of the conversations between or among individuals. This is because the regulations do not prescribe the information that service providers must allow the State agents access to.
Whereas State agents can obtain information on an individual from the service providers, the individual is not allowed access to the same information that the State agents would have obtained.
These regulations are clearly designed to shrink the rights of Zimbabweans as provided for in the new Constitution.
They confirm that Zanu PF wants to convert Zimbabwe into a police State where individual rights are disrespected by the State.
The MDC subscribes to the general principle stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that; “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
The People’s Party of excellence believes that censorship should not be imposed unless it is truly necessary to protect some other vital objective.
It is central in a democratic society that people should be left to make their own judgements about what they wish to say, read or see, free from State or other control, unless there will be real harm to others.