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Chapter One Foundation and ZICTA Enter Consent Agreement Over Internet Shutdowns in Zambia

Chapter One Foundation and ZICTA have reached an agreement where ZICTA is to explain itself within 36 hours if there is ever an internet shutdown. Here’s the statement:

“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.

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 Communication 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.

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.”

– Linda Kasonde, Executive Director