Zimbabwe: Arrest over ‘insulting’ Mugabe tweets marks new assault on internet freedom

Responding to the arrest of US citizen Martha O’Donovan, who has been accused of calling Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a “selfish and sick man” on Twitter, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director Muleya Mwananyanda said:

“This arrest marks the start of a sinister new chapter in the Zimbabwean government’s clampdown on freedom of speech – and the new battleground is social media.

“Following President Mugabe’s appointment of a minister for ‘Cyber Security’ last month, the detention of Martha O’Donovan appears to confirm fears that this new portfolio will simply be used to punish anyone speaking out against the authorities on social media platforms.”

Zimbabwean police today arrested O’Donovan for “insulting” Mugabe after tracking anti-government tweets from the @matigary Twitter account to her IP address.