In Côte d’Ivoire, two bills are worrying the internet community. The government has announced the forthcoming change of jurisdiction over the press and the audiovisual sector. The goal is to regulate the functions of bloggers, influencers and activists on the web. But the latter fear an attack on their freedom of speech, as the contours of this government initiative are still unclear.
as reported from Abidjan, Sidy Yansane
The subject agitated on the canvas throughout the weekend. The two bills announced by the government aim to modify the legal order of the press and that of audiovisual communication, by now exposing bloggers, activists and influencers to them.
In the event of validation by the National Assembly, Internet players and their publications would be under the supervision of the National Press Authority and the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication, in the same way as journalists.
Fear of censorship An alarming decision for these web professionals, who consider the provisions of the text to be very vague and imprecise. Cyriac Gbogou is the Vice President of pan-African network of bloggers AfricTivistes : “It is believed that this law was taken in relation to something like everyone else today. Why take this recipe by adding the words bloggers, influencers and web activists? The second question: is this not done to further censor or control everything that is said on these different platforms? I, as africTivists, speak to myself because we fight for people to have more ways to condemn things and others who today use everything that is social networks and the internet. These are questions we ask ourselves. ”
If bloggers fear a future restriction of their freedom, government spokesman Amadou Coulibaly explains the need to adapt the law to the development of communication tools, while protecting minors from certain content and the public from hateful and xenophobic speech.