Ambiguous Laws and Freedom of Expression in Africa

SALC: Freedom of expression, a fundamental right crucial for open dialogue, critical thinking, and societal progress, is under threat in Africa due to outdated and ambiguous legal frameworks. Citizens, journalists, civil society, human rights defenders and activists are constantly charged with a variety of insult, sedition, subversive, anti-terrorism and defamation offences across Africa.

In Eswatini, two former members of parliament were convicted under the prevention of terrorism legislation, which has a judgment on its constitutionality pending in the Supreme Court. In Malawi, a citizen was convicted for posting an animation video depicting the president. In Botswana, The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) is challenging the penal code provision on ‘publishing alarming information’ because it is vague and limits press freedoms.

While some work is being done to reverse these colonial provisions, some states are reintroducing them by including them in new legislation. The reimagining of these provisions is seen through quick enactments of laws, for instance, those that seek to prevent cybercrimes, while civil society regulations legislation is used in some.

Read full article: Ambiguous Laws and Freedom of Expression in Africa

12 June, 2024
Type of Update:
Updates from our Partners
Campaign Partners:
Southern Africa Litigation Centre

The Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status is a coalition of organisations from across the world that advocate for the repeal of laws that target people based on poverty, status or for their activism.


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