Should governments regulate social media?

April 19, 2021 1664 views 8 comments 2 minutes reading time
Should governments regulate social media?

African governments across the continent are putting in place strict laws regulating the internet.

The power of online platforms in many countries has led to censorship, arrests and internet shutdowns, perhaps spurred by the metamorphosis of hashtags into social movements.

We asked broadcaster Zeinab Badawi whether governments should regulate social media

Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary General of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, suggests the need for proper structures governing the digital space

This view was echoed by Zeinab Badawi

Tech-savvy Africans have found ways of bypassing “Big Brother” by using VPNs (encrypted data paths) to access content currently being restricted by several African governments in the name of maintaining the security of their citizens.

However, this has led to further crackdowns. On 18th of January 2020, netizens in Zimbabwe could not access the internet after a shutdown was imposed by Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government following a countrywide fuel hike protest, flooding social media with memes and hashtags of “Bring Back Mugabe!”.   

Ethiopia, a country quite familiar with internet restrictions, was subjected to a two week internet and social media shutdown in June 2020, following unrests fueled by the death of prominent Oromo singer and activist, Hachalu Hundessa.

In Tanzania, the digital space was silenced, with internet restrictions experienced in the country for more than a week after their October 2020 general election.

In Nigeria, the #EndSARS movement that spilled from social media platforms onto the streets forced the government’s hand in restricting internet access. The protests call for urgent police and governance reforms.

We asked Paula Ingabire, Minster for ICT and Innovation in Rwanda, for her thoughts on about freedom of digital expression

Should governments regulate social media?Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to the policymakers and experts!

Image by Angelo Moleele via unsplash

Comments

OA

Top Comment

Government regulation of the internet shouldnt be a must. It must be How and Why matters, to be strategically addressed within the scope of their indigenous upbringing. First, which social media platform have the direct impact on the nation's social and security matters? Second, how do we deal with it in a tactical way so to avoid private invasion and unnecessary censorship? Social media usage is dynamic. And the matter is late to be addressed since the damages has already been inflicted. The answer to the question as to whether they should or not is NO. But rather use it as a cultural exhibition platform.

AN
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UA
Yes of course It demolishes charity

AU
You can't regulate social media without being a dictator.

CN
The government has no single right to regulate social media especially in a democratic system of government. If they do, then what happen to the freedom of speech and expression because we as the citizen has the right to that. As a matter of fact social media has been the online platform the citizen can use to air out their opinion. Any government that want to regulate social media is not for the people but against the people. Uto ankude or Nigeria mi

OD
Either public figure or not a rule is a rule. All animals are equal. There should not be special preference for public figures.

AB
Because of their selfish and greediness. They don't want their wickedness and atrocity against the weak and least privilage one to be exposed internationally.

IK
If they regulate it because we are insulting them there we shall meet them on the streets,they should try it.