Why some governments fear even teens on TikTok

Why some governments fear even teens on TikTok

In Egypt, teenager Menna Abdel Aziz used social media to ask for protection after a sexual assault. She was arrested on a variety of charges, including misusing social media and corrupting family values.
Two young women, Haneen Hossam, with 915,000 TikTok followers, and Mawada Eladhm, with 3.1 million TikTok followers) were also
arrested for their social influencing videos.
Renad Imad , another social media influencer, was arrested after allegations of posting indecent content and prostitution.
In late June, belly dancer Sama El-Masry was
sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for posts to the TikTok video sharing platform and other social media.
These and several other arrests follow on the heels of earlier cases, including singer Sherine Abdel Wahab’s arrest for insulting the Nile River at a concert, Rania Youssef’s arrest for wearing a revealing dress in 2018 and the 2015 arrest of novelist Ahmed Naji, said to be the first contemporary Egyptian writer arrested for violating public modesty.
These cases illustrate the social vulnerability of young women, especially those without social and economic connections, and confusion about what is permissible expression, and what isn’t.
What is clear is that the Egyptian women mentioned above are seen as increasingly dangerous to entrenched social, political and gendered hierarchies.
COVID-19 has only underlined questions about when to regulate speech. Quarantines and lockdowns have affected social engagement patterns, as people seek new outlets to connect with others. Usage rates of Netflix , Instagram Live and TikTok have skyrocketed.
In the US, the media market is ring-fenced by norms of free speech. But recently, US president Donald Trump threatened to shut down Twitter after it added fact-checking links to his tweets. Both Trump and a Florida congressman have had tweets flagged for glorifying violence . Facebook’s hands-off policy to policing politics on their platform has resulted in a virtual walk-out at that company – and a new commitment to
regulating political speech.
Some commentators consider the present moment to be a turning point in the battle to keep fake news and alternative facts out of social media.
A pressing question is whether a “ platform for expression ” such as TikTok deserves to be regulated. The Trump administration is considering a TikTok ban . Their concern is Chinese control of US data, not dance videos. What, if anything, should be done about user-created content?
Liberalism and social media
To understand the perils of over-regulation, we can consult the most important theorist of liberty, John Stuart Mill. In my recent book, I present Mill as a liberal, a feminist and a critic of state interventionism. Mill argues for almost complete freedom of expression and freedom of the press in countries capable of free discussion and exchange of ideas. He places individuality at the centre of his vision of what a person with “character” is, and he argues that there is value in nonconformism.
Social media platforms often play a role in reinforcing trends and in creating a sort of sameness, but they remain vehicles for self-expression, especially of young people. Mill would not support their regulation by government.
Social media and authoritarianism
If we want to understand why non-liberal governments see threats in self-expression, we can return to communist Czechoslovakia and dissidents such as Václav Havel. In his 1978 essay, The Power of the Powerless , Havel identifies a “hidden sphere” of youth culture. “Pre-political” engagement takes place there, and sometimes leads to the creation of a “parallel polis,” or a space where a group of citizens can feel politically active.
During the Arab Spring, graffiti and popular songs were part of the “parallel polis”. Similarly, Czechoslovakian dissidents found places for expression in popular culture. Thus, Charter 77, the political movement which Havel co-founded, was connected to popular music and concerts. Politically, even music matters.
Thus, in a manner reminiscent of the American youth culture of the 1960s, the “parallel polis” offers an alternative to a tightly controlled, state-centered public life. Both an unfettered utopia and an escape, this space is the dream of users of immersive platforms such as Second Life . And in the case of Minecraft , an in-game “uncensored library” exists as an archive of censored real-world data. Thus, a game can have important real-world consequences.
So can Twitter. Media analysts see Twitter’s 500-million daily tweets as an important vehicle of activism. The book #Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice explains how counterpublics use Twitter to “advocate for social change, identity redefinition, and political inclusion”.
Now, in the aftermath of the George Floyd shooting , we are also seeing more overtly political uses of TikTok. Teens are using the platform to record protest marches and to make statements about social justice.
Today, Tiktok and Instagram, or even mahraganat music (described as an Egygtian fusion of electronic and folk music) are seen by some governments not as entertainment, but instead as challenges to state social control. Mahraganat, for example, was recently banned in Egypt. Calls to ban TikTok have been raised worldwide and bans have been tried out in India and Indonesia.
Platforms such as TikTok are oriented towards younger users. The age of users raises valid questions about the privacy and protection of minors. But outright bans may over-regulate the legitimate expression of young people. And applying cybercrimes laws to regulate user-created content may do the same thing. A new Egyptian social media campaign (# If Egyptian Families Permit ) to free the arrested young female TikTok users makes just this point.
Women in the Middle East and North Africa region have been complaining about legal and social restrictions on their behaviour and bodies since well before the Arab Spring. Until this tension is mediated in civil society, governments will continue to see a hidden sphere of resistance in even apolitical, user-created dance videos on TikTok. And young people will continue to find new ways to connect on social media, in spaces that are increasingly hard for governments to regulate.
Chris Barker , Assistant Professor of Political Science, American University in Cairo
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

Government starts installation of CCTV cameras nationwide

The government of Ghana in collaboration with the National Security Ministry, undertakes an aggressive installation of Closed Circuit Television(CCTV) cameras nationwide.

The operation is part of the Akufo-Addo administration’s pursuit to ensure the safety of citizenry and also to fight crime.

The nationwide installation exercise is required to keep tab on criminals and various unseen traffic offenses.

At the end of the project, it is expected that about 7,000 cameras would be installed.

The installation has already been completed at Lapaz,, Nima, Newtown, Dansoman along with other traffic intersections, while other parts of the country await installation.

Government Expert Advises-Delay 2020 General Elections For This Reason – Government Expert Advises

Prof Baffuor Agyemang Duah has said the administration ought to consider deferment of races on the suspicion that come November the most exceedingly terrible of the pandemic shows.

As unimaginable situations develop over Coronavirus, Prof Baffuor Agyemang Duah fought it would be totally silly to satisfy the protected necessity by gambling general wellbeing.

“On the off chance that by October, November we’re seeing fatalities from the infection who will consider venturing out to proceed to cast a ballot? So in such a case, I anticipate that all administration establishments should settle on a choice to the greatest advantage of the country. I’m stating I can even think about how conceivable it is for races to either be moved or deferred relying upon the idea of what we’re confronted with. So there is a sure good judgment that you need to apply.

” I’m not saying we will do that, after the entirety of its untimely to try and guess that, however in the occasion you can’t control it and God prohibit, we stretch out to the levels New York, Spain and others are having, it won’t bode well to hold normal political exercises just to satisfy a sacred necessity,” he told demonstration have Akwasi Nsiah on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM as observed by TheBBCghana.Com

Prof. Baffuor Agyemang Duah further contended that the country is moving into unfamiliar waters concerning the infection and henceforth it is significant for the Electoral Commission (EC) to prematurely end any quick plans of the aggregation of another voters register.

The activity was at first booked for April 18, 2020, yet no new date has been declared.

“We had intended to do the enlistment on the [18th of April] but since of the pandemic, we can’t do it on the eighteenth so we are seeing what’s going on around Ghana and the worldwide issue,” the EC’s Director of Electoral Services, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe said told a Press meeting in March.

In the mean time, the Communications Director of the resistance National Democratic Congress (NDC) Sammy Gyamfi says President Akufo-Addo was to a great extent driven by political practicality in lifting the Lockdown limitations “rashly”.

“It is unmistakably a politically-roused choice, determined to permit the EC the space to attempt its settled in and strange assurance to gather another voters’ register for the 2020 general decisions and that’s it.