Digital Dissidence and Social Media Censorship in Africa
This book reflects on the rapid rise of social media across the African continent and the legal and extra-legal efforts governments have invented to try to contain it.
The relentless growth of social media platforms in Africa has provided the means of resistance, self-expression, and national self-fashioning for the continent’s restlessly energetic and contagiously creative youth. This has provided a profound challenge to the African "gatekeeper state", which has often responded with strategies to constrict and constrain the rhetorical luxuriance of the social media and digital sphere. Drawing on cases from across the continent, contributors explore the form and nature of social media and government censorship, often via antisocial media laws, or less overt tactics such as state cybersurveillance, spyware attacks on social media activists, or the artful deployment of the rhetoric of "fake news" as a smokescreen to muzzle critical voices. The book also reflects on the Chinese influence in African governments’ clampdown on social media and the role of Israeli NSO Group Technologies, as well as the tactics and technologies which activists and users are deploying to resist or circumvent social media censorship.
Drawing on a range of methodologies and disciplinary approaches, this book will be an important contribution to researchers with an interest in social media activism, digital rebellion, discursive democracy in transitional societies, censorship on the Internet, and Africa more broadly.
Introduction: The Gatekeeper State Meets Digital Citizen Panoptic Gaze, PART I: BACKGROUND ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND INTERNET CENSORSHIP IN AFRICA, Chapter 1: Historicising and Theorising Social Media and the Demotic Turn in Communication in Africa by Farooq A. Kperogi, Chapter 2: His Excellency, the Internet and Outraged Citizens: An Analysis of the Big Man Syndrome and Internet Shutdowns in Africa by Shepherd Mpofu, Chapter 3: Capital, the State, and the Digital Divide: A Critical Reflection on Social Media Censorship in Ghana by Eric Karikari, Chapter 4: Between State Interests and Citizen Digital Rights: Making Sense of Internet Shutdowns in Zimbabwe by Tendai Chari, PART II: PROTEST JOURNALISM AND CITIZEN DISSIDENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, Chapter 5: Countering Hegemony in Zimbabwe’s Cyber Sphere: A Study of Dissident Digital Native Group #Tajamuka by Trust Matsilele, Chapter 6: Cyber Space as Battlefield for Nationalist and Separatist Groups: A Study of Nigeria’s Indigenous People of Biafra Online Propaganda by Floribert Patrick C. Endong, PhD and Paul Obi, Chapter 7: Social Media, Censorship and Counter-Censorship of Female Performances in Morocco and Egypt by Ebtesam M. El Shokrofy, Chapter 8: From Facebook to FaceBimeeza: How Ugandans Used Facebook to Replace Banned Radio Political Debates During the 2016 Presidential Elections by Marion O. Alina, Chapter 9: Digital Dissidents or Whistle-blowers? A Critical Analysis of Microbloggers in Kenya by Job Mwaura, PART III: SOCIAL MEDIA REPRESSION AND STATE SURVEILLANCE, Chapter 10: Social Media Usage and Digital Rights Restrictions in The Republic Of Chad by Akwasi Bosompem Boateng, Chapter 11: Powers, Interests and Actors: The Influence of China in Africa’s Digital Surveillance Practices by Allen Munoriyarwa and Sarah Helen Chiumbu, Chapter 12: Social Mediated Crisis Communication: Legitimacy, Significant Choice, and Censorship in the Armed Conflict in Cameroon by Vincent Doh Manzie, Chapter 13: Case Studies on Anti-Social Media Laws in African Countries by Anna Nakaayi