The High Court in Lusaka has stayed a decision by the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) to block social media access in the country. The Zambia government issued orders to block Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the country’s election period. The Ministry of Information and Broadcast Services said the shut down was meant to curb the spread of misinformation amidst the polls.
The court stayed the decision after Chapter One Foundation challenged ZICTA for blocking access to social media in the country. The foundation has been granted to commence judicial review proceedings pending determination of the matter.
“Upon hearing counsel for the applicant and upon reading the affidavit verifying facts deposed to by Sara Hlupikile Longwe it is hereby ordered that the applicant (Chapter One Foundation) be at liberty to commence judicial review proceedings against the respondent (ZICTA) and further that the decision dated 12th August 2021 to block access to WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and messenger services in the entire country and ordering all mobile service providers to cease providing internet services be stayed pending determination of the matter and that each party shall bear their own costs,” the ex-parte order from the Lusaka High Court read,
The Zambian Presidential election held on August 12 between the incumbent President Edgar Lungu and opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has been marred by violence.