Most countries at least pay lip service to the principles of free exchange of information and freedom of speech in their constitutions, but who’s actually applying that to the internet in Africa right now?
While we’re always excited about the potential for the internet to improve lives and shift economies on the continent, it’s always worth stepping back and remembering that in a lot of places it’s yet another tool for oppression.
Which is why, even though we’re a bit late to it (it was published a couple of weeks ago) today’s Map Monday is this cartographical exploration of internet censorship drawn up by Afrographique. It’s based on information from Freedom House.
Countries are rated and coloured according to a scale of 1-100, where 1 is complete freedom and 100 is lockdown. South Africa actually comes off pretty well – along with Kenya our ability to do and say what we want online is up there with the US and Europe (although be wary that we don’t know who’s spying on every comment and email).
It won’t come as much surprise to find that Ethiopia is bottom of the list. Especially not if you’ve been following the story of the Zone 9 bloggers – a group of journalists who have been locked up without much contact with the outside world since 23rd April, and whose trial has been delayed a staggering eight times (it’s now due to take place on 15th October).
Get the full map here and check out this excellent “trial tracker” for a complete history of the Zone9ers case.