The double-edged nature of digital media technologies is emphasized on its ability to transform access to information and freedom of expression while at the same time facilitating the growth of the dis-misinformation phenomenon.
The negative impacts of the digital media platforms and the threats it poses for the fledgling democracies in Africa has given rise to a wave of legislation aimed at regulating the use of such platforms.
However, many of these regulations also portend danger for the freedom of expression gains harvested through the existence of digital media platforms.
Across Africa, countries such as Lesotho, Benin, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Cameroun, Nigeria, Ethiopia among others have either passed or are in the process of passing legislation that tends to strengthen state control overuse of the internet, online communication outlets, and digital media platforms including social media platforms by citizens.
With challenges such as the dissemination of defamatory content, hate speech, fake news online, internet platforms have been under constant pressure to increasingly moderate content and impose guardrails on user-generated content.
However, content moderation in many instances takes away from freedom of expression, influences the right to privacy and data protection, and ultimately human rights.
The session will identify how countries can walk the fine line between regulating digital media while promoting and protecting the enjoyment of freedom of expression and legitimate political debate. It will also explore how technology companies in their effort to moderate content do not restrict peoples’ freedom or right to impart or receive information.
• Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, Nigeria
• Julie Owono, Executive Director, Internet Without Borders, San Francisco
• Elias Okwara, Africa Policy Manager, Access Now, Kenya
• Dora Mawutor, Programme Manager, MFWA, Ghana
Moderator: George Sarpong, Executive Secretary, NMC of Ghana
Click HERE to register to participate in the session