Skip to content

Africa’s Strict Measures to Combat ‘Disinfodemic’

In Mauritius, a man who falsely claimed that riots had erupted after the prime minister announced the closure of supermarkets and shops, was arrested under the Information and Communication Technology Act. In South Africa, authorities arrested people spreading the news that the virus was being spread by foreigners. And in Kenya, a 23-year-old man was arrested after he published false information with the intent to cause panic. But these strict controls are also affecting the freedom of expression of people on the continent. And the African Commission recently published its Revised Declaration on Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa. According to the Declaration, freedom of expression is an indispensable component of democracy. It states that no one should be found liable for true statements, expressions of opinion, or statements which are reasonable to make in the circumstances. The African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are binding on all African states except Morocco and South Sudan respectively.