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Saturday, 10 April, 2021 - 11:12

Like so many aspects of our life, democratic debate is increasingly moving online. Yet it seems like every time citizens adopt a new digital tool or enter a new digital space to voice opposition, repressive governments respond with a whole arsenal of tactics to dampen dissent and deny their right to opinion and expression. For every new activist tactic there are three or four state countermeasures. New research has found that this digital game of whack-a-mole is playing out across Africa. An issue about which the activists, analysts and academics of the African Digital Rights Network are conducting research and raising awareness.

 

For all of us, the right to be heard and to influence decision-making on issues that affect our lives is a cornerstone of open democracy and a sustainable development goal. In an increasingly digital world being heard means making use of mobile phones and social media – especially during a pandemic when social distancing makes public protest both difficult and dangerous. Marginalised groups have repeatedly made creative use of digital technologies to create spaces online to give voice to neglected issues, influence debate, and hold to account those with power. #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter are powerful...