TikTok Influencer, Neth Nahara, also known as Ana da Silva Miguel on TikTok, has had her prison term in Angola extended from six months to two years for her critical social media posts targeting President João Lourenço.
In her posts, she accused the president of causing “anarchy and disorganization” and held him responsible for the country’s educational, housing, and employment shortcomings.
The appeals court in Luanda, Angola, cited the influence of her content and ordered her to pay $1,200 for damage to the president’s reputation.
With a substantial following of over 230,000 TikTok followers, Ana da Silva Miguel became the first person in Angola to be convicted for content posted on the platform.
The state prosecutor, Judge Salomão Raimundo Kulanda, referred to the president as “sovereign” and argued for a more severe punishment, expressing concerns that she might continue posting similar content.
Influence of Social Media in Shaping African Political Discourse: An example of TikTok influencer, Neth Nahara
This case highlights the evolving role of social media influencers in shaping political discourse in Africa. Despite Angola being a significant oil exporter, the country grapples with widespread poverty and recent protests against rising living costs.
Human Rights Watch has accused security forces of unlawful killings, primarily targeting government critics. In response, President Lourenço dismissed the economic minister in June following protests over fuel subsidy reductions that led to price hikes.
The rise of social media influencers like Neth Nahara has transformed political dialogue, giving individuals with substantial online followings the power to influence public opinion and challenge established power structures. It also underscores the risks faced by such influencers, as governments may impose restrictions on freedom of expression.
Narrowing Africa’s Digital Divide
Furthermore, this case underscores the importance of bridging the digital divide in Africa, where disparities in internet access and technology hinder education and job opportunities, particularly in remote areas.
High costs of internet services and devices further exacerbate this gap, especially for individuals with lower incomes.
Addressing this digital divide requires collaborative efforts between governments, private sectors, and civil society to invest in digital infrastructure, promote digital literacy, and make devices more affordable.
Such initiatives are vital to unlock economic potential and ensure equal access to information and opportunities for all Africans.