Abstract: It had been assumed that the advances in digital information technology and its increasing availability to ordinary Africans would facilitate broader public participation in decision-making and provide ordinary citizens with an opportunity to hold their leaders accountable. However, the increasing abuse and misuse of the internet and social media through fake news now threatens to reinforce the emerging decline towards authoritarianism in the continent. This article examines some of the risks posed by the diverse manifestations of fake news and the attempts made by the African governments to counter this. Its major contention is that, unless urgent measures are taken at the national, regional and international levels, the threats posed by fake news to the limited democratic gains made in the continent since the revival of constitutional governance in the 1990s may see the continent return to the dark authoritarian era of repressive and undemocratic rule.
Keywords: anti-fake news laws; constitutionalism; democracy; fake news; internet; social media
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