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Listening Post
Beating censorship in Zimbabwe
A look at how, even in the digital age, the best way for Zimbabweans to get the news is to pick up the phone.
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2012 12:14

Although the Arab Spring has been contained to North Africa and the Middle East, it has unnerved leaders further afield in countries with democratic credentials that are less than stellar.

Zimbabwe is one such country. Earlier this year, six Zimbabweans faced treason charges for gathering and screening footage of the Arab revolutions. Although those charges were eventually whittled down and they received suspended jail sentences, the message from Harare was clear.

It has been more than three years since the Zimbabwe Government of National Unity was formed, merging Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change. However, critics argue that the coalition has done little to reform the country's media. Government censorship - direct or indirect - is still a reality in Zimbabwe, but some are finding ways around it.

Listening Post's Nic Muirhead looks at how, even in the digital age, sometimes the best way for Zimbabweans to get the news is to pick up the phone.

"Freedom Fone is a project that came out of the constrained media environment in Zimbabwe. We built the platform to provide ourselves with an additional tool that we could use to reach out to mobile phone users. An important feature of Freedom Fone that distinguishes it is the fact that it focuses on voice. So this particular medium is important when we deal with communities who are illiterate."

Brenda Burrell, Freedom Fone

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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