If you’re been following the story of Internet access, human rights violations and extreme censorship in Zimbabwe, you’ll recall that bloggers and journalists pay a high price to get their stories out. But — oppress a people, and they will evolve technology to meet their needs for survival, in this case, reporting human rights violations via text message form their phones, the only medium with a free channel (for now). Snip:
A radio station hounded out of the country by Zimbabwean strongman President Robert Mugabe has found its e-mails are monitored and shortwave broadcasts are blocked by Chinese-built jamming devices, the station manager said at a press freedom conference here on Friday.
But, said SW Radio Africa founder Gerry Jackson, the censors haven’t caught on yet to text messaging. It’s a challenge to compress “the complexity of Zimbabwe’s news into 160 characters including spaces,” Jackson said. “That’s what I do every day.”
Mugabe has consolidated his iron grip on power over the last 25 years by harassing journalists, threatening political opponents, and banning the sale of independent newspapers. Allegations of torture appear frequently in reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and the free-speech advocacy group Reporters Without Borders has dubbed Mugabe a “predator of press freedom.” Inflation is running at around 1,600 percent annually and food shortages are common.