Zimbabwe created a new ministry to monitor social media. But most Zimbabweans don’t want government monitoring.

In a highly anticipated reshuffling of cabinet appointments last week, Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, created a new ministry of “Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation,” to be led by former finance minister Patrick Chinamasa. The government claims the ministry was created because of growing abuse of social media, including cyberbullying.

But observers claim that the real reason is to clamp down on citizens who’ve been using social media to criticize the government as the country’s economic instability grows — and see the move as a threat to freedom of expression. Media watchdog MISA-Zimbabwe warned that the new ministry will have a chilling effect, increasing self-censorship by the media and by citizens on social media.

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