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The Squeeze on African Media Freedom

Published in the Journal of Democracy (Volume 31, Number 2, April 2020)
Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz 1 Apr 2020


Nearly thirty years after governments loosened control over broadcasters and publishers, Africa’s media face increasing threats. New laws are resulting in the imprisonment of journalists and closure of media houses, while internet shutdowns and “social-media taxes” are increasingly common strategies to limit the mobilizing and informational potentials of digital technologies. These challenges are occurring in the midst of eroding public support for free media, as the latest Afrobarometer data show increased backing for government restrictions across the continent. Africans’ confidence in their media seems to be declining, potentially due to concerns over bias, hate speech, and disinformation.

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Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz

Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz is an associate professor at Michigan State University and editor of the Afrobarometer Working Papers series.