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Lagos #EndSARS protesters kneel while singing the Nigerian national anthem. Photo by TobiJamesCandids, October 8, 2020, via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The young activist movement must evolve to win this marathon

By Nwachukwu Egbunike

Protests against Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have rocked major cities in the country since October 3 when a video showing two young men being brutalized and one of them shot in the street went viral. The protests against the SARS unit became a trending topic on Twitter in several countries, and by October 9, the hashtag #EndSARS has been tweeted over 2.4 million times.

These protests have once again placed the virtual network of netizens on the frontlines. This is a “new country” of Nigerians spanning non-geographical boundaries, yet united by a common identity.

When considering this phenomenon, Benkler’s networked public sphere comes to mind. Political conversations online are not just mere talk, fuming with passion but with no substance. It’s understandable that this might often be the impression portrayed; however, these discussions in virtual networks are an evolution of Habermas’ public square of antiquity, and are an essential aspect of any democracy. …

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An empty Nairobi street in Nairobi, Kenya, during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, April 22, 2020. Photo by the World Bank/Sambrian Mbaabu via Flickr CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0.

Freedom of expression is under attack during the pandemic

By Victoria Rubadiri | Article 19

Editor’s note: This story was written by Victoria Rubaridi as part of the UK government-funded PROTECT project for ARTICLE 19 and is published here through a partnership-sharing agreement.

Since the novel coronavirus outbreak in Kenya in March, more than 47 cases of arbitrary arrest, assault and harassment have been perpetrated against bloggers, online activists and human rights defenders, according to ARTICLE 19, a nongovernmental organization focused on freedom of expression. This compares to 15 cases in the previous five months (October 2019-March 2020).

“For online activists and journalists in Kenya, 2020 is the worst year on record,” said James Wamathai, director of the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). “The environment has grown much more hostile during the pandemic. I think it is a concerted effort on the part of the government to silence dissenting voices.” …

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Non-profit JKS Volunteers took initiative by providing the community of Jaffna, Sri Lanka with dry food packages and distributing 1,000 sanitary pads to women in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Image from Flickr by SDG Action Campaign. CC BY-ND 2.0.

Harmful culture of blame surfaces as Sri Lanka figures rise

This post by Shashika Bandara originally appeared in Groundviews, an award-winning citizen media website in Sri Lanka. An edited version is published below as part of a content-sharing agreement with Global Voices.

By GroundViews

Sri Lanka is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 infections with 1,307 total infections with 1,180 new cases confirmed within seven days, as of October 10. …


Global Voices

We call attention to the most interesting stories emerging from citizen media around the world.

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