Watch Now: Human Rights and Social Media: Lessons from Zimbabwe

December 7, 2022
By Perry World House

What does democracy advocacy look like in the age of social media, when activists can more easily connect and organize, but governments can just as easily surveil and sanction? Evan Mawarire, a Zimbabwean clergyman and activist, founded the #ThisFlag movement to challenge the injustices of the Robert Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe in 2016. Mawarire’s movement spread across Zimbabwe via social media and culminated in citizens refusing to go work to demonstrate their opposition to Mugabe’s rule. For his advocacy, Mugabe’s government imprisoned and tortured Mawarire.

This edition of The World Today will focus on how democracy and human rights advocates can deploy social media to create positive change and challenge government abuses by exposing their human rights violations. Mawarire will discuss the circumstances in Zimbabwe that led to his movement’s success and lessons that future movements can learn from his leadership and use of social media. How can social media be best used to catalyze and sustain human rights activism? What are its shortcomings? What can the Zimbabwe experience teach other countries?

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