Social Media and Human Rights

Last week, a 15-year-old boy was arrested in Zambia for allegedly defaming President Edgar Lungu in Facebook posts, as critics accuse the regime of turning increasingly authoritarian. The juvenile faces a maximum five-year jail term. Lungu, in power since 2015, faces mounting complaints that he is cracking down on dissent and seeking to consolidate power ahead of next year's elections. But, Zambia is not the only such African country interfering with peoples’ right to use social media platforms. In Zimbabwe, Uganda, Cameroon and more governments have shut down the internet due to anti-government protests. Human rights advocates have been arguing that when governments disrupt the internet, they are grossly violating individual rights to freedom of expression and access to information. Access to social media allows people to share information about human rights abuses at home and abroad.

To discuss this we are joined by:

• Dr George Ogola from the School of Journalism, Media and Performance at the University of Central Lancashire

• Verlie Oosthuizen partner at Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys and head of the social media law department

• Maiko Zulu is a human rights activist in Zambia