Restricting digital media is a gamble for African leaders – MENAFN.COM


(MENAFN – The Conversation) COVID-19 pushed much of the world into the digital realm for everything from schooling and work to religious worship and dating. At the same time, many governments were turning data connections off. Full or partial shutdowns of the internet and social media are increasingly common parts of the ‘digital authoritarian’ toolkit.

Many leaders seem threatened by the way digital media make it possible to share information and organise. Research shows that 2020 saw 156 full or partial shutdowns of the internet or social media like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. South Asia accounts for almost three quarters of these shutdowns, with India leading the way. And 2021 has already seen shutdowns in Niger , Senegal and Uganda . Read more: Shutting down the internet doesn’t work — but governments keep doing it In some cases, official reasoning has shifted over time. When Uganda shut down digital media surrounding its January 2021 elections, foreign affairs minister Sam more...