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Across Africa, new battlefields for free speech take shape on social media
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor, July 25, 2018
Posted: July 22nd, 2019

Like many African governments, the regime of [Emmerson] Mnangagwas predecessor, Robert Mugabe, was notoriously thin-skinned about social media criticism. Indeed, only two weeks before Mr. Mugabe was deposed in a coup last November, his government had arrested a young American woman working in Zimbabwe for allegedly tweeting that the country was being run by a sick and selfish man. For now, the temperature seems to have changed. But if Zimbabwes webspace has changed since the days of Mugabe, it also contrasts with many other African countries. Across the continent ... governments have increasingly targeted social media as a way to bring unruly dissenters to heel. In Tanzania, for instance, a recently introduced law slaps a registration fee of about $900 on bloggers and online forums. A 2016 law in Rwanda makes it illegal to use a digital device to cause annoyance, inconvenience, or needless anxiety, and Egypts government recently announced a law allowing it to block any social media users with more than 5,000 followers if they disseminate fake news. In Zimbabwe, the new government has attempted to show its openness to social media as a way of visibly distancing itself from the autocratic regime of Mugabe, whose iron grip on dissent resulted in broad sanctions against the country that sent Zimbabwes economy tanking. Mnangagwa has verified his Twitter account, opened a Facebook page, and set up a broadcast list on WhatsApp to send messages to his supporters.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption and civil liberties from reliable major media sources.

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