Unrestricted access to Internet services was restored in Zimbabwe on Monday, January 21, by the country’s high court after it found that minister of security, Owen Ncube, did not have the authority to keep these services suspended. This is after almost a week of limited or no access to online services.
The Zimbabwean unit of the Media Institute of Southern Africa filed an urgent application with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to have the block lifted.
David Halimana, the lawyer for Human Rights, said the ruling meant that mobile network operators were required to give full internet access to everyone, effective immediately.
Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest teleco, informed its customers that the suspension had been lifted only hours after the ruling and that full access to social media platforms like Twitter and WhatsApp had been restored.
According to CNN, Zimbabweans had been relying on Virtual Private Networks (or VPNs) to access these services. Facebook and YouTube could also be used again.
This follows after Zimbabwe’s government restricted access to the internet – and social media specifically – in an attempt to stifle violent protests that broke out in response to skyrocketing fuel prices.