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Thursday, October 04, 2018

Internet shutdowns: Africa netizens must fight for digitocracy - ITREALMS

African netizens have been called to action over the increasing internet shutdowns across the continent for them to face the reality and fight the emerging army against digitocracy, reports ITREALMS.

Digitocracy, ITREALMS gathered has been versely defined as “Digital Power” rooted in processed ‘data’ with ‘cracy’ originating from the Greek word –kratia, which means 'power, rule'. While netizens, refer to persons who actively use the Internet responsibly, mostly in socio-political process aimed at contributing to the Internet's use and growth for good governance.

This charge was made by the publisher of Africapedia, Mr. Charles Onayango-Obbo during his keynote address to the 5th Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FiFAfrica 2018) which held at La Palm Beach Resort in Accra, Ghana at the weekend.

He pointed out that in the 1950s and 1960s African forefathers were busy fighting for independence across board and as the 21st dawn came to Africa with the Internet evolutions including the shutdowns which are happening at intervals across the continent, the netizens have to wake up and fight this digitocracy.

According to him, if stakeholders, especially the netizens, did not fight over good governance of the Internet, it may not be valued as of today.

He pointed out that there a few examples, saying that it was “instrumentalised” by the new and dominant 21st African bureaucracy, hence “digitocracy” is built around telcos, platform technologies like Mpesa, e-Citizen, and the “surveillance securitocracy”.

These, Onyango-Obbo said, enables governments and precisely African leaders to weaponise digitocracy for political messaging, attacking regime foes, and election influencing.

Further, he said there is an internal contest between the old and new, with the new favouring open internet even for cynical political reasons and urged new generation or netizens to take heed and do well to fight the fight of keeping the Internet open, because the old had fought for the African independence.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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