Join Global Voices’ #WritingTowardFreedom Twitter chat on December 11, 2019

Global Voices Twitter Chat #WritingTowardFreedom will discuss politics and digital rights in Africa on December 11, 2019.

Global Voices will host a Twitter chat to discuss “WritingTowardFreedom: Politics and Digital Rights in Africa,” on December 11, 2019.

#WritingTowardFreedom: Twitter chat on politics and digital rights in Africa

Date: December 11, 2019

Time: 4 p.m. UTC / 5 p.m. WAT (click here to find your time zone)

Hashtag: #WritingTowardFreedom

Follow @gvssafrica for the discussion

This Twitter conversation will be anchored by Global Voices’ sub-Saharan and North African contributors. The discussants are: Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein (United States/Tanzania), Dércio Tsandzana (Mozambique/France), Sandra Aceng (Uganda) and Yosr Jouini (Tunisa). Nwachukwu Egbunike (Nigeria) will moderate the conversation.

Lichtenstein (@travelfarnow), Global Voices editor for sub-Saharan Africa, is the global security editor for Public Radio International's The World. As a freelance writer and poet, she has worked on a variety of literary arts advocacy initiatives in Zanzibar, Ethiopia, and the United States. Tsandzana (@derciotsandzana), Global Voices Lusophone Africa editor, is a doctoral candidate at France's University of Bordeaux. Aceng (@sandraaceng) is a gender and ICT policy advocate in Uganda. Jouini (@thisisyosr), a software engineer from Tunisia, focuses on the intersection of technology and human rights. Egbunike (@feathersproject), Global Voices Community Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, is a social media researcher and author of Hashtags: social media, politics and ethnicity in Nigeria.

The chat begins at 4 p.m. (UTC) on Wednesday, December 11, on Twitter, using the Global Voices sub-Saharan Africa handle: @gvssafrica.

#WritingTowardFreedom: Politics and digital rights in Africa

Press freedom and online freedom of expression have consistently been under threat in Africa. In 2018, Global Voices Special Coverage revealed that jailing journalists, shutting down the internet and taxing social media is the new “internet paradigm” on the continent.

Ethnic hate speech, mis- and disinformation, and government trolling also increasingly interfere with freedom of expression, access to information and political discourses online, as revealed in the series of articles written by GV contributors to the #WritingTowardFreedom project.

These interferences spike during political events like elections or protest movements. According to the project's initial findings, which covered seven African countries: Algeria, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe:

The #WritingTowardFreedom project is funded by the Africa Digital Rights Fund of The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA). 

  • Online disinformation in Algeria, Tunisian and Zimbabwe spiked during elections and political protests.
  • Social media platforms in Nigeria and Ethiopia morphed into battlegrounds for ethnic hate speech, disinformation and political propaganda largely disseminated by key political actors and their supporters.
  • The just-concluded elections in Mozambique witnessed online and offline harassment of journalists.
  • In Uganda, as the 2021 election approaches, there are concerns that the government will once again resort to disrupting access to the internet.

The discussants for the Twitter conversation contributed to this project as writers and editors. They will shed more light on the findings that emerged from the stories and engage a larger conversation on the intersection between politics, freedom of expression and digital rights.

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