CHAPTER One Foundation Limited says it has entered into a consent judgement with ZICTA in a matter in which it was challenging the authority’s decision to order mobile service providers to cease providing internet services as well as blocking access to WhatsApp and Facebook in August last year.
In a statement, Monday, Chapter One Foundation Executive Director Linda Kasonde stated that ZICTA had agreed not to act outside its legal authority going forward.
She stated that ZICTA had also agreed to inform the public of the reason for any interruption in access to the internet within 36 hours of any such event.
“On Thursday 12th August 2021, Zambia experienced an internet shutdown that affected all social media platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. On Friday 13th August 2021, Chapter One Foundation filed in judicial review proceedings against the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) challenging the internet shutdown and obtained an order to have the internet restored. On 21st March 2022, Chapter One Foundation and ZICTA entered into a consent judgement in which ZICTA has agreed not to act outside its legal authority and/or control to interrupt the flow or access to the internet going forward. ZICTA has also agreed to inform the public of the reason for any interruption in access to the internet within thirty-six hours of any such event,” stated Kasonde.
“This is the first case of its kind in Zambia and an enormous victory for internet freedom and freedom of expression in the country. This will ensure that going forward there will be accountability for any internet shutdowns that may occur in the future. Chapter One Foundation Limited promotes and protects human rights, human rights defenders, constitutionalism, social justice, and the rule of law in Zambia. Our aim is to promote and protect the Constitution and the rights included in it and by so doing, free the space for Zambians to fully participate in the democratic governance of the country.”