English-speaking Cameroon is in month two of an internet shutdown that has received a whole lot of condemnation from the international community.
Internet shutdowns in Africa despite the heavy arguments against them coming from all corners have become something of a norm in the face of dissent or tricky elections.
South Africa is looking to join the ranks of African countries who resort to internet shutdowns to seemingly curb one menace or the other within their borders. There are reports that the South African government is contemplating the regulation of social media to halt the spread of misinformation.
The spread of misinformation or what has been popularized by last year’s US elections as fake news is an actual problem that is accepted on a global scale but for most African government’s the fake news phenomenon can take the dimension of being any information that the government does not agree with.
SA government officials have said that the spread of fake news and scams on social media is a growing problem and regulation of access to the platforms is one way to curb to possibly curb the menace.
At a press briefing for the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster in Pretoria, state security minister David Mahlobo said:
“The false narrative in the social media; it’s one of the challenges that South Africa faces. We are contemplating to regulate the space. Even the best democracies that are revered, they regulate the space.”
The state security Minister also said that he understood that the move would likely draw criticism and therefore wanted South Africans to know that they will be sure to get input from various bodies so that any regulation would not be seen as an attempt to trample human rights.