Digital rights highlight those human rights and legal rights that allow individuals to access, use, create and publish digital media and to access electronic devices and telecommunications networks. These privileges are essential to the inclusion of other humans, civil and other forms of rights.
Like some other rights, digital rights are being impeded by Africa’s social and cultural norms. The status quo in the continent hinders the complete inclusion of digital rights and some of the social and cultural norms that impede digital rights in Africa include:
There is an unpopular belief in this part of the world that a person must be of a certain age before he or she is been given access to digital devices and access to information. Internet cafes won’t readily grant access to people not up to their self-defined age limit.
Parents are not innocent of this as they deny access to digital devices until children reach a particular age. This has made the affected age grade fall behind as their counterpart in Europe and developed continents are being given access to these devices.
MISUSE OF THE INTERNET
For digital rights to be considered fully included, the people involved must have access to not just any information but verified information. The spread of fake news is peculiar to Africa as the offenders are rarely prosecuted for it.
The habit of “anything goes” has created a big hurdle for digital rights inclusion. Children’s pornography is being spread across the internet without a hitch which is strange to European countries.
AUTOCRATIC NATURE OF LEADERS
Some governments and leaders of the continent are egoistic and high-handed in dealing with digital media apps and outlets. Even in Democratic settings, certain African leaders act like dictators while dealing with media outlets.
Recently Twitter a social media app was banned and its usage was termed illegal and was only let to resume operations after they felt their ego has been massaged enough. This came after a tweet of the president was deleted. This singular act denied millions of users their digital rights.
Cases of leaders cutting their nation’s connectivity to the internet are completely infringing on the rights of the populace and by extension hindering the inclusion of digital rights.
NON-ATTACHMENT OF IMPORTANCE TO TECHNOLOGY
In this century, people don’t still attach a sense of importance to technology and investing in it ignorantly denies people their rights.
Every human has the right to access information and the lack of prioritizing the development of the sector continually denies the people of Africa the right to be heard and hear others.
The full inclusion of Digital rights in Africa is needed for robust development in all sectors and until we move on from our culture hindering the realization of the inclusion we would remain in the dark and won’t match up to other continents.