Internet Shutdowns in Africa| The Changing Landscape of Internet Shutdowns in Africa — Introduction
There is an evolution underway in terms of how Internet access is perceived and understood. The view that Internet access should be a fundamental right has continued to gain traction. At the same time, concerns are increasing about the very real threat of offline harm posed by the dissemination of misinformation and hate speech online. This Special Section looks at these tensions within the context of one particularly extreme solution to perceived online threats: shutting off Internet access. While Internet shutdowns have now occurred across nearly all continents, they are on the rise in Africa, where some of the longest shutdowns have taken place. This Special Section brings together authors from law, communications, political science, and human rights to encourage a reevaluation of how we understand Internet shutdowns by reframing how they are situated within a broader landscape of other censorship and infrastructure challenges. The articles in this collection examine the causes and effects of shutdowns in the African context and challenge our current thinking about them.