Angola, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia already introduced harsh laws that regulate “social media abuse”. Zimbabwe and Lesotho are also in the process of introducing new social media controls. While the regulations promulgated in these countries appear essential and even reasonably progressive on the surface, they contain problematic clauses aligned to dubious “national security” imperatives. And in practice, they all serve to instil doubt and fear in social media users and encourage them to practice self-censorship to avoid facing the wrath of the state machinery for voicing their grievances about their governments and local institutions. The “good old days” of archetypal state media organisations, or media empires with strong ties to dominant political forces, singlehandedly churning out jingoistic propaganda to diversity-starved and disinterested listeners, viewers and readers are truly over.
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