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West Africa Insight Vol 7 no.1: Keeping Track in 2019: Votes, Fake News and Security in West Africa

This edition of West Africa Insight will look ahead to key issues and events set to play out in 2019. In February two of the region’s countries will hold presidential elections. Voters will cast their ballots on 16 February in Nigeria. Ahead of the …

Whatsapp and Nigeria's 2019 Elections : Mobilising the People, Protecting the Vote

“Social media has changed the face of politics in Nigeria.” So said many political candidates, professionals, non-governmental organisation (NGO) and civil society actors, scholars and political advisers interviewed as part of this research project …

Les Sénégalais Souhaitent un Accès sans Restriction aux Réseaux Sociaux, Mais Déplorent les Fausses Informations et les Discours de Haine / Senegalese want Unrestricted Access to Social Networks, but Deplore False Information and Hate Speech

For democracy advocates, the press is the most indispensable and formidable non-governmental institution. According to them, access to information is crucial to enable citizens to inform themselves about economic, political and social news in order …

How the COVID-19 Fight has Hurt Digital Rights in East Africa

The fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda has dealt a blow to the promotion and preservation of human rights in the region. Moreover, the outbreak of COVID-19 could not have come at a worse time, as t…

Though Alert to its Dangers, Zimbabweans Embrace Social Media and Demand Unrestricted Access

Social media is having a huge impact on the daily lives of people throughout the world. A popular tool in both personal and professional life, social media allows users to stay updated and connected with little regard for geographical borders, and i…

Free vs. False: Namibia's Changing Media Landscape Presents Tough Choices for Citizens

The World Press Freedom Index considers Namibia the African country with the freest media environment, ranking 23rd in the world. While the media environment may be relatively free, senior Namibian politicians are often cynical about the media and j…

Health Misinformation: False stories from Ebola to Coronavirus

Nigeria has had a long-running battle with misinformation and disinformation. In times of health pandemics, misinformation, or false information shared unintentionally, becomes especially harmful. This was evident during the Ebola crisis in Nigeria;…

Double-edged Sword? Ghanaians see Pros, Cons of Social Media, want Access but not Fake news

Like many other countries, Ghana has been grappling with its share of fake news about COVID-19. On the one hand, rumors that the “foreign disease” targets only whites and the affluent heighten nonchalant attitudes toward fighting the disease. On the…

Ethiopian more Focused COVID-19 Country Report

The COVID-19 pandemic was reported to spread to Africa on 14 February 2020. The first confirmed case being in Egypt. Ethiopia reported the first case on 13 March 2020. The National Government of the country let by Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed decla…

Innovative Civic Initiatives by Young People to Strengthen their Role in Post-COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the resilience of national education systems, economies and job markets, highlighting the digital divide, income inequality, and workforce fragility around the world. In Africa, the virus has kept millions of childre…

Moroccans Support Media's Watchdog Role but Endorse Government Restrictions on Information

Morocco’s 2011 Constitution states that "freedom of the press is guaranteed and may not be limited by any form of prior censorship. To the extent expressly provided for by law, everyone has the right to free expression and dissemination of informati…

Côte D’Ivoire’s Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

This report argues that fake news in Cote d'Ivoire is a predominantly political phenomenon and that it poses a considerable threat to political stability. Falsehoods in Cote d'Ivoire spread most rapidly on social media platforms such as Facebook and…

Responses to Information Disorders: What can Governments Do?

This research brief draws on early findings of the sub-Saharan Africa study to highlight key areas requiring state intervention. Interviews with actors, primarily civil society organisations in the sub-Saharan region revealed a high level of distrus…

Mali's Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

This study aims to better understand key facets of the ecosystem of fake news in Mali. It argues that the deteriorated political context in the country has facilitated the proliferation of fake news. The Malian fake news ecosystem is also thriving i…

Siera Leone's Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

In January 2020 internet penetration in Sierra Leone was 25% and there were an estimated 700,000 active social media users, with Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp the most used applications. These new media platforms act as both sources and enablers of…

Cabo Verde's Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

his study, which draws on 16 key informant interviews with academics, journalists, lawyers and social media users and an extensive review of relevant reports, documents and social media posts, provides one of the first comprehensive overviews of the…

L'écosystème des Fausses Informations au Sénégal: Une Vue D’ensemble / Senegal’s Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

As is the case in several countries, false information is gaining ground in the public space in Senegal. The phenomenon itself is not new, but it is now accentuated and popularised with the advent of social networks and other digital platforms. The …

Guinea Bissau's Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

Misinformation involves the spread of falsehoods without a deliberate attempt to mislead whilst disinformation is manipulated narrative or facts— propaganda deliberately intended to mislead. Both occur in Guinea-Bissau, with the recent Covid-19 pand…

Nigeria's Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

Fake news is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria. Historically, peddlers of disinformation were popularly referred to as “radio without battery”, with fake news a weapon in Nigeria’s civil war (1967- 1970). Today in Nigeria’s southeast, fake news peddle…

Ghana's Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

This report explores Ghana’s fake news ecosystem examining key actors in the online and offline space and the origins of their authority; key online information platforms and the interaction between offline media and non-media structures that shape …

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