According to this tech website, “whack-a-mole is the pursuit of a particular person known to have sent spam.” Dictators are playing whack-a-mole online but this time they are not after persons who sent spam. On the contrary African dictatorships are playing whack-a-mole with African digital rights, inventing repressive measures to dey the right to free expression. Tony Roberts had this really interesting story in Open Democracy:
Like so many aspects of life, democratic debate is increasingly moving online. Yet it seems that every time citizens adopt a new digital tool or enter a new digital space to voice opposition, repressive governments respond with a whole arsenal of methods to dampen dissent and deny the right to opinion and expression.
For every new activist tactic, the state comes up with three or four countermeasures. Research by a new network of African digital rights researchers, activists and analysts has found that this digital game of whack-a-mole is playing out across the continent.
The right to be heard and to influence decision-making on issues that affect our lives is a cornerstone of open democracy and one of the UN’s sustainable development goals. In an increasingly digital world, being heard involves mobile phones and social media – especially during a pandemic when social distancing makes public protest both difficult and dangerous.