Misa-Zimbabwe launches free internet WiFi to marginalised communities

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By Staff Reporter

MEDIA rights lobby, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has established free internet WiFi hotspots to urban and outlying rural areas as a way of promoting the right to access to information.

This comes after the United Nations (UN) has declared Internet access a human right.

Speaking at the official launch of the WiFi at Edward Ndlovu Memorial library in Gwanda Thursday, MISA board member, Pamenus Tuso said the information hubs are aimed at increasing access to information and knowledge across societies.

“Fundamentally, the Internet or ICTs are critical in advancing the exercise and enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and access to information as provided for in our own Constitution.

“The right to access to information is an indispensable right that is critical to the enjoyment of other fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and media freedom.

“This right is enshrined in a number of regional and international instruments which Zimbabwe is signatory to,” said Tuso.

The board member said the project will also complement MISA‘s information kiosks which the organisation established in partnership with local authorities in 2013.

Under this project, members of the public visit the kiosks to read newspapers and other material available for their information.

Tuso said apart from keeping citizens well informed, the WiFi Hotspots will also improve the people’s lives.

“It is our hope that these information Hubs will go a long way in supporting sustainable development and improving people’s lives, health, farming methods, business start –ups, scholarly research as well as keeping societies and communities informed on issues that affect their daily lives,” said Tuso.

Speaking at the same event, Gwanda Town Acting Mayor, Gilbert Dube commended MISA for establishing the information hubs.

“I would like to thank MISA for coming up with this initiative. It was difficult for residents here to access internet because of the high cost of data. Following the installation of this facility, we will now be able to communicate with the rest of the world,” said Dube.

MISA has also set up similar WiFi Hotspots in Lupane, Gweru and Nyanga.