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· March, 2021

Stories about Freedom of Speech from March, 2021

The Gambia’s missed opportunity for digital rights reform

Gambians held high hopes for digital rights reforms under President Adama Barrow. But the draft constitution fell short on its promise to adequately protect digital rights.

The price of dissent: Women and political activism in Vietnam

Women "should think that our fight is not only against dictatorship ... It is also a fight to free ourselves from our own ideological constraints, from the prejudice that we...

Post-Magufuli, will Tanzania review its repressive online content regulations? 

Tanzania's content regulations are often used to undermine and clamp down on digital rights and freedom of expression. With a newly sworn-in president, will the government review these repressive laws?

How Hong Kong lost its academic freedom in 2020

Since the enactment of the national security law, professors have had contracts terminated, student protests were repressed, and a new curriculum will be implemented in all schools starting September 2021.

Ukrainian Central Election Commission official resigns after criticism over Facebook sex toys post

Anzhela Yeremenko faced a barrage of judgmental comments after blogging about a faulty vibrator on her personal Facebook page, igniting a discussion about the line between impropriety and professionalism.

Cancellation of conference on 50th anniversary of the Bangladesh War of Liberation sparks criticism

The organisers gave no reason for the cancellation, but some see it as a worrying sign of the erosion of intellectual freedom.

My truth: The pain of being silenced in Cuba

"The '1984' book by George Orwell provides an understanding of the existing analogies with the oppressive Cuban society."

Transition in Tanzania: From President Magufuli to President Hassan

To some, Magufuli is remembered as a “true African statesman'' and pan-African putting Africa first. Other remember him as a “populist” president who promoted nationalism — above all else.

Increasing restrictions by Morocco against activists of Western Sahara

After decades of peace between Sahrawis and Morocco, November clashes ended Polisario's commitment to the 1991 agreement and spurred Morocco's clampdown on the region, encouraged by Washington's recognition of Rabat's...

Pakistan bans TikTok for the second time

TikTok was blocked in Pakistan for 10 days in October 2020. Access was restored after the app's parent company ByteDance assured authorities it would bolster moderation.

Did the Ethiopian government use its COVID-19 restrictions to silence dissent?

The state of emergency restrictions were used as grounds to arrest a lawyer and a journalist last year -- both known critics of the government in Addis Ababa.

Chinese patriotic YouTuber apologizes after criticizing propaganda and corruption

"In our village, the forest land has not been distributed. It is so full of corruption!"

Sierra Leone’s new cybercrime bill could turn a phone into a crime scene 

Sierra Leone’s cybercrime bill could turn a citizen’s smartphone into a crime scene at a moment’s notice. 

The toxic masculinity of Georgia’s gangster prince

The sexist tropes parroted by Bera Ivanishvili tell us a lot about how gender and power operate in Georgia, and the incompatibility of celebrity with the real-world power of a...

Protests erupt in Bangladesh after writer arrested under the Digital Security Act dies in prison

Ahmed was arrested after he criticized the government's pandemic response on social media. He was charged with "tarnishing the image of the nation" and "creating hostility" -- all offenses under the...

Kenya police turn to Twitter PR as the arrest of a blogger goes against public opinion

“Somehow, the [Directorate of Criminal Investigations] believes that PR, and specifically ‘live-tweeting,’ will change Kenyans' perception without bringing about the much needed reforms within the force.”

Twitter could be fully blocked in Russia within the next month

Russian internet regulator Roskomnadzor says it is prepared to block Twitter completely if the platform continues to ignore its requests to take down content flagged as illegal.

In Tajikistan, online critics land behind bars as alleged ‘extremists’

In Tajikistan, several outspoken bloggers and activists have been sent behind bars and online freedom of expression is seriously curtailed. 

How India's new internet regulations will change social media, online news and video streaming

If failing to comply, social media platforms could lose intermediary immunity, which means they could be prosecuted for content posted by its users.

‘This goes way beyond brutality': Myanmar coup and the military's violent suppression of democracy

Myanmar protesters are being killed for resisting the military government. As violence continues to worsen, many are appealing for urgent UN intervention.

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