Webinar Announcement: “Africa: Is Social Media Friend or Foe of Democracy?”

The importance of social networks as agents of change cannot be ignored. Because of its popularity, social media plays an active role in democracy and in democratization, where it can have a positive impact on society but can also contribute to the polarization of society. In a positive light, social media is hailed as a vehicle for providing a voice to the voiceless and as a way to overcome state-controlled media and content, especially in the developing world. However, in some societies, social networks have evolved into a platform for fake news and propaganda, empowering disruptive voices, ideologies, and messages. With the aim of ensuring that social media is a tool that aims to strengthen democracy instead of causing further polarization, this webinar will delve deeper into social media and its impact on democratization in Africa.

This webinar will explore the potential of social media to impact democracy in Africa. Our expert panel will analyze the potential impact of social media on civic engagement through its ability to almost “hijack democracy” by influencing individuals toward a particular way of thinking. We will discuss the current state and use of social media in Africa, differences and similarities to other parts of the world, the role of social media in the spread of disinformation, and the potential of social media to promote or alter civic engagement.

The Webinar will take place between 10:00-11:30 EST via Zoom.
Click here http://bit.ly/3qqVqLC to register.


Aurra Nicole Kawanzaruwa is a creative digital native with a broad portfolio of experience. She is the Executive Director and co-founder of AfriDigital Private Limited, a Zimbabwean startup whose mandate is to further the discussion and development of the 4th Industrial Revolution in relation to African economies. She currently serves as the School Principal of St. Anne’s Primary School, a private community school nestled in the heart of Harare West. She was recognized and awarded first runner up by the ZNCC Women in Enterprise Awards in the Social Enterprise category in 2018. In 2019, Africa Science Week (Next Einstein Forum & Purple Futures Trust) honored Aurra with an Appreciation Award “In recognition of (her) outstanding work and with sincere appreciation for (her) tireless efforts in using science and technology for the betterment of society.” She sits on the board of Digital Communication Network Africa, and was also a part of Oxfam International’s Global Strategy Advisory Forum 2020 contributing to the organisation’s global strategy for the next 10 years from a digital consciousness perpective.

Haruna Kanaabi has practiced journalism for more than 25 years. He trained as a journalist with the Union of African Journalists in Egypt and Thompson Foundation of the United Kingdom. He reported for The Shariat Newsletter before becoming its Editor. He also trained as human rights writer, researcher and advocate in the United States. He is passionate about media and journalist rights and has worked as a human rights researcher for both international and national organizations and institutions. He is a founder member of Freedom of Expression Hub (FOEHUB), an organization that defends freedom of expression including media rights. He was severally arrested because his journalism work and spent four months in Luzira prison on charges of sedition and publication of false news. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment with an option of a fine. He was instrumental in successfully challenging in courts the law the sedition and publication of false laws which inhibited journalism practice in the country. These sections were nullified by both the Constitutional and Supreme Court of Uganda. He continues to practice journalism through writing and commentary on current affairs. He is a regular panelist on Radio Simba program called Face the Press (Gasimbagane ne Bannamawulire).

Admire Kudita is a multimedia journalist based in Zimbabwe.He has a academic background in communication, law, history and english studies at tertiary. He also has a master’s degree in strategic communication. His career in journalism has spanned over 20 years writing as a correspondent and columnist on issues ranging from business, agriculture, technology, culture to society and politics for most of Zimbabwe’s top independent publications such as The Zimbabwe Independent, 263chat (online), The Standard, Southern Eye, Financial Gazette and Newshawks (online). He is also a correspondent for international media houses. He is also book editor and newspaper columnist with frequent radio appearances on radio as a cultural affairs resource person /analyst. His deep and broad grasp of African current affairs and society is underpinned by an abiding interest in African global competitiveness and democratisation. His journalism is informed by a unique vision of a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic vision of society. He is a board member of the recently formed Congress of African Journalist and interim regional vice president for Southern African aside from being a member of the board of DCNA.


Nikolas Panagiotou, Associate Professor at Aristotle University, Head of DCN Global.

This event is co-organized by the Digital Communication Network Global, DCN Africa and World Learning and is part of a series of virtual events launched in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The series aims to engage digital communities globally, to promote accurate information, combat distortions, encourage responsible behavior, and discourage panic, support mitigation of a global pandemic, and avoid major societal disruptions.

DCN Global is a consortium of non-profits, public and private organizations and companies involved in the fields of digital communication, social impact campaigns, technology, and innovation. It is a unique, interdisciplinary coalition tapping into the best talent and resources across Europe. DCN Global is supported by the U.S. Department of State Office of Citizen Exchanges.

DCN Africa survey
We invite you also to participate in a DCN Africa survey, to identify specific needs and expertise, in support of future activities and collaboration. You can find the survey here: https://airtable.com/shrF8vc84sotpfbZm

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