The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) has frowned against social media regulations and called on African Governments to respect digital rights.
This was part of the resolution adopted by the network of African freedom of expression and media development organisations during the eighth general meeting of AFEX.
The member organizations expressed concern about the phenomenon of African governments disrupting social media networks and platforms or the entire internet as a tool to further silence critical voices or prevent mobilisation of the public from protesting against unpopular decisions or policies in Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Uganda, Congo-Brazzaville, Senegal, Algeria, Burundi, Egypt, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Sudan and Togo over the past two years alone.
Specifically, the organizations condemned the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and the Facebook ban in Uganda as a gross and unjustifiable violation of the rights of Nigerians and Ugandans, respectively, to freedom of expression and access to information.
AFEX demanded that the governments of Nigeria and Uganda immediately and unconditionally rescind their decisions on banning access to Twitter and Facebook and any other social media platforms to media, journalists, and the general populace, and allow all persons to enjoy and exercise their constitutional rights of access to information and freedom of expression online, as enshrined in the countries’ constitutions and several other regional, continental and international treaties and protocols that Nigeria and Uganda are signatories to.
The Group called on governments in Africa to formulate and implement policies that promote the exercise and enjoyment of human rights on the internet and particularly meaningful and affordable connectivity and bridge the gender digital divide.