1st Edition

Communication Rights in Africa Emerging Discourses and Perspectives

Edited By Tendai Chari, Ufuoma Akpojivi Copyright 2024
    282 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This ground-breaking volume examines enduring and emerging discourses around communication rights in Africa, arguing that they should be considered an integral component of the human rights discourse in Africa.

    Drawing on a broad range of case studies across the continent, the volume considers what constitutes communication rights in Africa, who should protect them, against whom, and how communication rights relate to broader human rights. While the case studies highlight the variation in communicative rights experiences between countries, they also coalesce around common tropes and practices for the implementation and expression of communication rights. Deploying a variety of innovative theoretical and methodological approaches, the chapters scrutinise different facets of communication rights in the context of both offline and digital communication realities. The contributions provide illuminating accounts on language rights, digital exclusion, digital activism, citizen journalism, media regulation and censorship, protection of intellectual property rights, politics of mobile data, and politicisation of social media.

    This is the first collection to consider communication in Africa using a rights-based lens. The book will appeal to researchers, academics, communication activists, and media practitioners at all levels in the fields of media studies, journalism, human rights, political science, public policy, as well as general readers who are keen to know about the status of communication rights in Africa.

    Introduction: Communication Rights in Africa: Theoretical and Practical Considerations

    Tendai Chari and Ufuoma Akpojivi

    Part I: Cultural and Minority Rights

    Chapter I: Language-Cultural Barrier in Ubang Community: A Critical Assessment of the Communication Rights of Women and the Girl-Child

    Chike Mgbeadichie

    Chapter 2: Silicon Savannah or Digitising Marginalisation? A Reflection of Kenya’s Government Digitization Policies, Strategies and Projects

    Job Mwaura

    Chapter 3: Please do not call it human right: a Southern Epistemological perspective on the digital inclusion of people with disabilities in South Africa

    Lorenzo Dalvit

    Chapter 4: The Interdependence of Communication, Political, and Socio-Economic Rights: Examining the Lived Experiences of Digitally Marginalised Netizens Before and During the COVID-19 Lockdown in Lagos State, Nigeria.

    Olutobi Akingbade

    Part II: Digital Citizenship

    Chapter 5: Cabo Delgado Também é Moçambique: The Paths of Youth Digital Activism in a Restrictive Context

    Dércio Tsandzana

    Chapter 6: Citizen journalism and the entrenchment of communication rights in Zimbabwe

    Ernest Mudzengi and Wellington Gadzikwa

    Part III: Freedom, Censorship and Intellectual Property Rights

    Chapter 7: ‘The right to tell my story as I please’: Regulation and self-censorship in the Nigerian film industry

    Ikechukwu Obiaya

    Chapter 8: A critical review of intellectual property rights: The case of Nigeria

    Aifuwa Edosomwan

    Chapter 9: Internet shutdowns in semi-authoritarian regimes: The case of Cameroon

    Peter Tiako Ngangum

    Chapter 10: Fake news versus Freedom of expression: Legislating media trademarks infringements on Social Media Platforms in Kenya and South Africa

    Brian Hungwe

    Part IV: Politics of Digital Infrastructures

    Chapter 11: Politics of Digital Infrastructures in the Global South: The Case of #DataMustFall Campaign in South Africa

    Tendai Chari

    Chapter 12: Silence and Silent the SóróSoké Generation: The Politicisation of Social Media in Nigeria

    Ufuoma Akpojivi


    Tendai Chari is an Associate Professor of Media Studies and a National Research Foundation (NRF) C3 Rated Researcher at the University of Venda, South Africa. He holds a PhD in media studies from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. Previously, he lectured at several universities in Africa, including the University of Zimbabwe (where he was head of the media programme in the English department), the National University of Science and Technology and Fort Hare University (South Africa). Chari is widely published in the field of media and communication studies, and his research focuses on political communication with a broadened horizon on the interface between digital media and politics, media and conflict, and media ethics and popular culture. His other publications have appeared in the Journal of African Media Studies, African Identities, Communicatio: South African Journal on Media and Communications, African Journalism Studies, and the Journal of African Elections. He is the co-editor of Global Pandemics and Media Ethics: Issues and Perspectives (Routledge, 2022, co-edited with Professor Martin N. Ndlela), African Football, Identity Politics and Global Media Narratives: The Legacy of FIFA 2010 World Cup (2014 Palgrave Macmillan; co-edited with Professor Nhamo A. Mhiripiri); Media Law, Ethics, and Policy in the Digital Age (IGI Global Publishing, 2017; also with Professor Nhamo A. Mhiripiri); and Political Transition in Southern Africa: Democratic Consolidation or Change of Façade? He is a recipient of several grants and fellowships, which include the African Peace Building Network Fellowship (2017), the African Peacebuilding Book Publishing Manuscript grant (2018), the African Humanities Program (AHP) of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2022). Chari is working on finalising his single-authored book titled Diaspora Media and Homeland Conflict: Coloniality of Conflict Journalism in Zimbabwe (Routledge 2023).

    Ufuoma Akpojivi (PhD) is Policy, Research and Learning Lead at Advocates for International Development (A4ID), United Kingdom. Before this, he was an associate professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and a visiting professor at the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria. He holds a PhD and MA in communications studies from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. His research interests cut across media policy, democracy, citizenship, new media technologies, and political communications, and he has widely published on these issues. He is a National Research Foundation (NRF) South Africa, C2 Rated Researcher and a recipient of numerous teaching and learning awards such as the Vice Chancellor Individual Teaching and Learning Award (2017), Faculty of Humanities Individual Teaching and Learning Award (2017), Vice Chancellor Team Teaching and Learning Award (2016), and Faculty of Humanities Team Teaching and Learning Award (2016). He is the author of Media Reforms and Democratization in Emerging Democracies of Sub-Saharan Africa (Palgrave 2018) and Social Movements, and Digital Activism in Africa (Palgrave, 2023).

    Impressively, the case studies collected in this book come from West, Central, East, and Southern Africa. They insightfully and innovatively cover the pivotal issue of communications rights from diverse perspectives – from digital inclusion and communication rights of marginalised communities to ordinary citizens’ battles with Internet shutdowns and the struggles to legislate intellectual property rights in contexts of digitalisation. In putting together this book, Tendai Chari and Ufuoma Akpojivi have given students, researchers, policymakers, media professionals, and rights activists a must-have and must-read piece of work.

    Dr Teke Ngomba, Associate Professor of Media Studies Aarhus University, Denmark


    In this edited collection, Tendai Chari and Ufuoma Akpojivi assemble an array of engaging and thought-provoking case studies related to communication rights in Africa. The book will be a valuable reference point for those concerned with understanding and furthering communication rights in the African context and beyond. 

    Dr Giles Moss, Associate Professor in Media and Politics, School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds, United Kingdom