Laws restricting disinformation in Sub-Saharan Africa: the state of play in 2023
For the last several years, a consortium of civil society organisationsi has been tracking and analysing government responses to online disinformation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
While it is important to find ways of addressing the harms posed by the proliferation of disinformation online, the research has shown that many laws and policies intended to tackle disinformation actually pose significant risks to individuals’ human rights, particularly their right to freedom of expression.
These laws are inconsistent with international and regional human rights law and standards, and are being applied in ways which restrict legitimate forms of expression, with consequences for other associated rights such as freedom of association and assembly. This brief explores the state of play in the region regarding laws and policies that place restrictions on sharing disinformation online. It draws out three key themes, based on examples from LEXOTA.