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Protesters block the main route to Zimbabwe's capital Harare from Epworth township on January 14, 2019, after the government more than doubled the price of fuel. On January 15, CPJ joined more than 20 rights organizations and the #KeepItOn Coalition to call for authorities in Zimbabwe to restore internet and social media services. (AFP/Jekesai Njikizana)

CPJ joins call for Zimbabwe to restore internet and social media access

January 15, 2019 1:12 PM ET

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined more than 20 rights organizations and the #KeepItOn Coalition to call for authorities in Zimbabwe to restore internet and social media services, commit to maintaining internet access, and encourage accountability from telecommunication and internet service providers to respect human rights.

The letter, addressed to Kazembe Kazembe, Zimbabwe's minister of information communication technology and cyber security, emphasized how internet disruptions inhibit journalists' ability to contact sources, gather information, and file stories. The letter also detailed the additional social and economic costs of internet outages, as well as how such disruptions run contrary to international law.

"The government in Zimbabwe should take action to ensure a free and open media environment, which means swiftly reestablishing internet and social media access," said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. "African governments too often use internet disruptions as a tool to stifle the free flow of news and commentary."

Read the full letter here.

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