in Africa, Human Rights, Internet Freedom

Digital freedoms in french-speaking African countries

Digital freedoms in French-speaking African countries

(Originally published in AFD)

As digital penetration increases in countries across the African continent, its citizens face growing risks and challenges. Indeed, beyond facilitated access to knowledge such as the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to leisure-related tools such as Youtube, and to sociability such as social networks, digital technology offers an unprecedented space for democratic expression.

However, these online civic spaces are under threat. Several governments have enacted vaguely-defined laws, allowing for random arrests.

Several countries have implemented repressive practices restricting freedom of expression and access to information. This is what is known as “digital authoritarianism”, which is on the rise in many countries.

This report takes stock of digital freedoms in 26 French-speaking African countries, and proposes concrete actions to improve citizen participation and democracy.

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