Uganda Social Media Conference 2021: Key issues to discuss

We are into the second half of 2021 and, with lockdowns on and off to curb the spread of the coronavirus, social media is literally the way to do business in the new normal. But just how much of it can we use in the times after the ravaging pandemic? Or still, how much regulation should be applied to its usage? These and more questions are to be answered at the Uganda Social Media Conference 2021.

The conference, in its 6th edition, is organized by the Uganda country office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Like with the previous editions, this one too aims to converge key stakeholders for a constructive exchange on the impact of social media on state and society to highlight both, opportunities and challenges. These are from the government, civil society, academia, and the media.

The 2021 edition is set to be held virtually in August 2021 on 25th – 26th, at Kampala Sheraton Hotel. This year’s Social Media Conference will run under the theme “Digital democracy in a Post Pandemic Era”, highlighting how Social Media has facilitated citizen journalism, Elections in Africa, its impact on mental health among many other topics.

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Key topics at the 2021 Social Media Conferece

There is an inseparable bond between social media and elections in Africa. We have always seen blackouts and bans on usage as soon as the polls draw closer. This will be a point of discussion. Then, there is the growth of citizen journalism and how it has influenced digital newsrooms. The conference will discuss how to build a consensus for new media

Also, another key topic to discuss is Digital Diplomacy, and the rise of algorithms and implications of big tech in African Institutions, Governments, and Individuals. To this, you add the impact of social media on mental health; tackling emerging digital threats such as extremism, trafficking, and radicalization; as well as the rise of Global Social movements.

Not to ignore the re-framing of the climate change agenda on social media.

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Thematic Areas

The key thematic areas that the Social Media Conference is to look into include Internet Governance and Digital Diplomacy, Climate Change Advocacy, Data privacy and protection, Social media and electoral democracy, Digital Identity, Open Government, Media, and Sustainable Development, as well as the future of work and 4IR.

Read also: Jumia Uganda CEO speaks out on effects of Uganda’s internet shutdown in 2021, describes them as devastating.

What are the aims and objectives of the Social Media conference?

The Social Media Conference seeks to enhance digital democracy, free speech, and online participation in Uganda and Africa as a whole. It also looks at facilitating the exchange of information and best practices on digital cooperation and social media diplomacy. Also, the conference hopes to rally stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the access, usage, and availability of social media.

The conference should also identify emerging social media issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant public bodies and the general public, and where appropriate, make recommendations. It shall also contribute to capacity building for Internet governance in Africa, drawing fully on local sources of knowledge and expertise.

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