University of Applied Sciences Utrecht – Research Centre for Innovation and Business

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In his presentation Anand will present the findings of a study conducted by the African Digital Rights Network (ADRN) in 2020 on the state of the opening and closing of the online civic space in relationship with COVID-19-related measures in ten African countries. A comparative study across these 10 countries reveals seven themes. The analysis reveals several ways COVID-19 pandemic has influenced online civic space. Many governments have taken advantage of the pandemic as an excuse for limiting civic space, while using at least two dominant frames for legitimizing their conduct. The study proposes follow-up research to investigate further the lasting effects of allegedly COVID-19-related measures imposed by states, or so-called digital scars of COVID-19.

Anand will not only contemplate on the findings of this study, but will reflect in light of this year’s IIMA theme ‘Human-Centric Digitalisation’, on recent events that reveal the position social media platforms have as (data) monopolies.