Cases of internet shutdowns in Africa have been on the rise, with a variety of justifications from concerns about election violence, attempts stop the spread of leaked exams, to efforts to curb online hatespeech and civil unrest.  The blunt tool of internet shutdowns reflects a growing tension between those that argue it restricts freedom of expression and concerns that offline violence is increasingly associated with what is being said online. This roundtable will bring together speakers to reflect on both the country experiences of states that have recently implemented shutdowns as well as the technical and theoretical implications of this growing mode of censorship.

Speakers include Admire Mare on shutdowns in Zimbabwe; Nicholas Opiyo on the recent shutdown around Uganda’s elections; Rachel Thompson on internet regulation, or slow shutdowns, in Tanzania; and Endalkachew Chala will discuss about internet shutdowns during Ethiopia’s current conflict. We will also discuss changing tools of censorship: Clovis Bergere will reflect on the taxation on Internet access in Guinea and Benin; Moses Karanja, Jan Rydzak and Felicia Anthonio, on how advocacy and civil society are attempting to respond; Giovanni de Gregorio on the limits of law in addressing internet shutdowns; and Charlie Ngounou will reflect on engaging with governments on shutdowns, particularly in Cameroon.  Nicole Stremlau will chair the Roundtable and will reflect on some of the research published in the International Journal of Communications special issue on Internet Shutdowns.

To attend the event, please register here.