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Africa Development

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The Internet as Public Sphere: A Zimbabwean Case Study (1999-2008)

K Manganga

Abstract


The appearance of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on
Zimbabwe’s political landscape in 1999 and the publication of independent
newspapers provided Zimbabweans with alternative public spheres to the
government controlled media. Through these counter-publics Zimbabweans
articulated their protests against the deteriorating economic and political
situation in the country. However, legislations like the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA) have since 2002 enabled the government to exert a stranglehold over
the free flow of information. This has subsequently forced Zimbabweans to
resort to the Internet to articulate their political views without fear of reprisals
from the state. This paper addresses the key features, problems, and prospects of this cyber public sphere.



AJOL African Journals Online