Text of report by London-based Zimbabwe independent SW Radio Africa on 18 February
[Report by Lance Guma: "Survey Reveals Increase in Internet Use in Zimbabwe"]
Twenty four per cent of adults living in urban centres are now using the internet, according to the latest Zimbabwe All Media Products and Services Survey (ZAMPS). The figure represents a 2 per cent increase in the last 3 months alone.
Most people are accessing the internet from internet cafes, some have access at their work places and at home, and around 2 per cent are using mobile broadband. The power of new social networking tools like Facebook also came to the fore, with the research showing this website to be the most popular among Zimbabweans. Around 83 per cent of internet users go online at least once a week or more.
The survey showed that overall there has been a nine per cent growth in readership of all newspapers. The recently set up NewsDay for example captured 23 per cent of the market share. The Zimbabwean and its sister paper, the Zimbabwean on Sunday (surveyed as one paper), achieved a seven per cent market penetration. The survey recorded readership and not newspaper purchases.
The ZAMPS survey also exposed how ZANU PF [Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front] propaganda is backfiring spectacularly. Viewership of the ZANU PF controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation TV channels slumped significantly. For example only 24 per cent of the population now watches ZBC TV, down from 38 per cent in 2008. And listenership of the state owned radio channels slumped to a new low.
As expected the survey showed the tremendous growth in the use of mobile phones. The number of people using mobiles in the urban centres increased to 86 per cent, up from 82 per cent. This is good news as it will allow a growing uptake of mobile broadband, providing increased access to alternative news and information via the internet.
As the protests in Egypt and Tunisia have shown, the internet is crucial for people living under oppressive regimes. With Facebook already the most popular site, networking of activists can only be made easier.
(Source: SW Radio Africa, London, in English 0000 gmt 18 Feb 11 via BBC Monitoring)