Freedom of expression: Where do we set the lines

The second African Internet Governance Forum istarted in Nairobi, Kenya just a day after a terrorist attack was launched on this African country.

The media reported 24 hours a day from the site of the attack; Twitter hashtags were created to make sure messages related to the crisis were passed on to the masses; and Facebook ready-to-use pictures of support to Kenya were circulated. It was actually a valuable experience for freedom expression defenders, as they were able to analyse how human beings exercised their rights in a time of shock and where the limit is set.

Over the course of the 4 days that the horrific event held Africa’s attention, photos of victims and deceased were circulated without any regard to morality and ethics. Hate speech online called to kill Muslims. Terrorist-related Twitter accounts were being disabled, yet new ones were created when the first were cut off. If freedom of expressioni is really a right, as stateid in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsi, why were the accounts of users communicating hate speech suspended? I could add to this, why did women in the movement around the world call, months ago, for Facebook to suspend the accounts of people calling for women’s rape?


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