Stories about Zambia
Zambians are being forced to register their mobile phone SIM cards with their real name and other identifying information. What will this mean for user privacy?
Ethnic group leaders in Zambia are finding government surveillance devices planted under their thrones and even in their bedrooms.
In a US court, Zambia's Deputy Commerce Minister has won a lawsuit against Zambian gossip site Kachepa360. Critics fear that citizen media sites reporting on government activities may soon face similar challenges.
Independent citizen media site the Zambian Watchdog switched to an Australian hosting company earlier this year in an effort to thwart attacks on the site. Readers ridiculed Zambia's Deputy Labor Minister when he mistakenly suggested that this would make the site accessible only in Australia.
After Wilson Pondamali was arrested and his home searched by police, users reported that independent news site the Zambian Watchdog was inaccessible within Zambia.
Zambian journalist Thomas Zgambo was arrested and charged with sedition on Tuesday. Another journalist, Clayson Hamasaka, was arrested but released without charges. Advocates suspect that both events were triggered by the journalists' association with the Zambian Watchdog, an independent citizen media outlet that has faced numerous threats from government officials in the past.
Zambian telecommunications company Airtel may be facing unintended consequences for allegedly having blocked access to popular citizen news website the Zambian Watchdog. Maiko Zulu, one of the nation’s popular musicians and a human rights advocate, wrote a letter to the Watchdog saying that he was dumping Airtel for blocking the citizen news website.
Zambian Vice President Dr. Guy Scott recently told parliament he would celebrate if the Zambian Watchdog, an independent citizen media site, were to shut down. On the evening prior, it suddenly became difficult to access the Zambian Watchdog. Readers abroad claimed they could access the site, while those in Zambia reported they could not.
The Zambian government has reportedly engaged Chinese experts to install a secret internet monitoring facility in the country. Information technology specialists from both the Office of the President and China are visiting communications service provider facilities to study their network architecture, in order to identify places in the network where authorities could develop interception capabilities, or a "backdoor" for monitoring. Both Zambian and Chinese authorities have declined to comment on reports about their cooperation.
Zambia's Foreign Minister, Given Lubinda, is under pressure to resign from the ruling Patriotic Front party. He is accused by the party's disciplinary committee of leaking information to online publications. The accusation is based on evidence that was allegedly gathered by wiretapping the minister's phone.
A Zambian government minister has allegedly threatened to arrest the editors of the online citizen media newspaper, Zambian Watchdog. The minister is also said to have threatened to charge the editors with treason, a capital crime in Zambia, punishable by death.
Recent admission by Zambia's telecoms regulatory body that the mandatory registration of SIM cards was being done to mount a security data base for users is stirring controversy among users and netizens.
The Zambian government recently restricted the reach of of the Lusaka-based University of Zambia (UNZA) Radio. On the same day, authorities announced that cell phone users will now be required to register SIM cards using their real names and other personal information. Bloggers and journalists are questioning the political motivations behind these decisions.
Twenty one pupils at a secondary school in rural western Zambia have been expelled over vile messages against their teachers on Facebook. Meanwhile, ruling party boss wants Zambian citizen news website shut.
President Sata recently sued United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema, the Daily Nation newspaper, radio station Hot FM and University of Zambia lecturer Cholwe Beyani for defamation of character and demanded to be paid K1.2 billionor US$266,667 in damages.
On Wednesday, 9 May 2012, netizens who flock to various citizen-run news websites such as Zambian Watchdog and Tumfweko were met with “page not available” or messages to similar effect. Zambian Watchdog reported that its website was a target of a sustained attack allegedly by the PF government.