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Beyond Human Rights Ideology: Struggles for Freedom of Expression in Africa

  • Jane Duncan
Chapter
Part of the Contemporary African Political Economy book series (CONTAPE)

Abstract

This chapter examines the discourse on human rights in Africa, especially in relation to freedom of expression. With a focus on the distinction between negative and positive freedom, it argues for a radical re-definition of this right that moves beyond its Western liberal emphasis on freedom from censorship (especially by government), and includes positive duties on power-holders to promote equality of access to the means of communication. Freedom of expression must also be conceptualized as a right that belongs to society generally, and one that is practiced by collectives, and not just the media or individuals. Such redefinitions, it is argued, will allow theoreticians and activists to move beyond what Issa Shivji has termed “human rights ideology ,” and toward a right that is more firmly rooted in African realities.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Duncan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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