Monthly Archives

November 2017

Paradigm Initiative Hosts 2017 Techtiary Forum

By | Coding, Press Release, Techtiary

Paradigm Initiative will be hosting its Techtiary Forum 2017 with the theme, “Geek Entrepreneur – Beyond Coding”, from November 28– 29, 2017 at the ECWA Multipurpose Hall, 17 Montgomery Road Yaba Lagos,

Techtiary Forum is the annual climax to the yearlong Techtiary clubs activities across Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. According to Olayinka Taiwo, Techtiary Program Assistant,  at Paradigm Initiative, “Techtiary clubs have over the years become platforms where students initiate innovative tech ideas from the onset of their tertiary education and develop these ideas till graduation and beyond.

Some three hundreds Nigeria’s brightest innovators across various tertiary institutions will gather at the Forum to shape the future of Nigeria’s tech scene. Techtiary Forum 2017 will also provide the platform for many of these innovators to showcase their tech creations before experts panels and compete for the 1 Million Naira Taiwo Bankole Prize.

‘Gbenga Sesan, the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative noted, “Nigeria’s future does not lie in its mines and natural resources, but in the minds of its most creative young people – many of whom will be at Techtiary Forum 2017”.

Tope Ogundipe, the Director of Programmes of Paradigm Initiative also stated, “They will also get the chance to learn from some of Nigeria’s best technopreneurs such as Damilola Solesi of Smids Animation, Ommo Clark of iBez, Joseph Agunbiade of Budgit, and Anike Lawal of Mamalette. ‘Gbenga Sesan, the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative and Akin Oyebode, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, will give the keynote addresses.Banner

Speakers at the event include Olufunbi Falayi, CEO of Lead Space, Sheriff Shittu, founder of Switch! Express and Modupe Arokoyo, founder of Modupe Olobe, amongst others.

Techtiary Forum is a flagship of Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Inclusion programmes and is our contribution to connecting youths in underserved communities with ICT-enabled opportunities.

President Buhari’s Secret War on Free Speech

By | #PINternetFreedom, Advocacy, ICT Policy

By Sodiq Alabi

One of Nigeria’s most popular news websites became inaccessible, within Nigeria, late October, and has remained unavailable since. Here, I refer to naij.com, a website that has repeatedly ranked among the top ten most visited websites in Nigeria for years. I hate to be the harbinger of bad news but I must inform you that many internet service providers in Nigeria have knocked Naij and twenty other websites off the Nigerian online space for weeks now.

According to available evidence, the blockade of domain names of Naij and others was at the behest of the Office of the National Security Adviser, acting through the telecommunications regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). President Muhammadu Buhari, born-again democrat and lover of free speech, whose government just scored its biggest coup against the media and the country through this action led by his National Security Adviser, is quiet. Preventing access to naij.com in Nigeria is on the same level as stopping Punch from distributing its newspapers in the country. If this had happened to Punch or any other print newspaper, the whole country would be drowning in media-induced frenzy on the issue.  How exactly has a democratic government managed to clamp down on one of the biggest online media outlets without setting off the media’s advocacy machine?  

This is what we know so far. On November 3, 2017, ITRealms, an online news site, reported that the Federal Government through the Nigerian Communications Commission ordered a company (name withheld) to block the domain names of some websites that are deemed inimical to the Nigeria’s national security. According to the memo dated October 20, 2017, and signed by Nigerian Communications Commission’s Director of New Media and Information Security, Haru Al-Hassan, and Head of Legal and Regulatory Services, Yetunde Akinoloye, the Office of the National Security Adviser prepared the list of twenty-one erring news sites. The list is a who-is-who of “pro-Biafran” websites. However, the NSA apparently considers Naij as pro-Biafra, hence the addition of the online media juggernaut to the list.

On November 5, 2017, Nigerian Tribune released a report on the development, essentially corroborating the report of ITRealms. Tribune went a step further and quoted copiously from the NCC memo. In the Tribune report, we learnt that the NCC issued the directive to telecommunication companies relying on Section 146 of the Nigerian Communications Commission Act of 2003 to have the websites blocked.

Immediately Paradigm Initiative learnt of this development on November 6, we went to work and ran copious tests on the domain names of the listed websites. We reached out to a source at Naij and asked why their website was redirecting us to a new domain name, naija.ng. The source, who is not authorised to speak publicly on the subject, said, “The website was shut down by the Federal Government. We are currently running on our backup platform, naija.ng”. For now, many users can still access Naij content via the backup domain name, naija.ng, but what happens when access to naija.ng itself is restricted by NCC? 

It is important to note here that the implementation of the blockade directive has not been uniform. Testing Naij.com on November 6 in Lagos via MTN and Swift, we were redirected to naija.ng. However, since November 15, naija.ng has itself been inaccessible when using Swift in Lagos. As for the other websites on the list, seventeen of the websites are still available in Abuja via Spectranet, as at November 16, while only three of them are accessible in Lagos via any of MTN, Smile and Swift networks. Others using different service providers in Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt also have similar observations. Outside Nigeria, all but two of the twenty-one websites are accessible. This means that while Internet users are having issues accessing these websites inside Nigeria, others outside the country are able to access them. We encourage readers to also test the websites and communicate their findings to us via hello@paradigmhq.org

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We have issued two press statements on this issue and on November 10 submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Nigerian Communications Commission. In the request, we asked the Commission the following questions: “Is the Nigerian Communications Commission, or any of its agents, in the process of taking steps to block or restrict the domain names of certain websites? If yes, what websites would be affected? What criteria were employed in selecting these websites? Under what legal provision is this being carried out?” As at the press time, the Commission has not responded to our request.According to the FoI Act, NCC had only seven days to respond to our request and the seven days lapsed yesterday. 

On his part, however, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, categorically denied any attempt by the Federal Government to block the domain names of news sites in Nigeria. This is what he told Tribune: “I am sure NCC will never ever write such a memo. I am sure it never happened. President Muhammadu Buhari or any of the people working for him will never do or encourage anything that will amount to gagging of the press.” Is it that the Commission is engaging in this censorship activity without carrying along its supervising ministry? This would not be the first time a ministry would not be aware of what an agency under it is doing. It is also possible that the minister was not being truthful to Tribune.

What really matters to us at this point is the precedent that the Buhari administration is setting by arbitrarily preventing Nigerians from accessing news sites of their choice. As we have said before, blocking the domain names of, or restricting access to, websites is a brazen violation of the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed, not only by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but also by international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory. The Federal Government has a duty to protect free speech and not curtail it.

Unfortunately, the Buhari administration, through various agencies, has not been shy about its ambition to “regulate” free speech. It has repeatedly pontificated about the danger of hate speech and why online speech especially must be regulated. President Buhari himself is no stranger to censorship and media clampdown. When he was Nigeria’s military dictator in the ‘80s, he promulgated the infamous Decree 4 that saw to the jailing of journalists and closure of media houses. Has Buhari changed since 1984 or does he still see critical speech as dangerous speech that must be fought to a standstill? The next few days or weeks would tell us.

ca. 1983-1985, Nigeria --- General Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria --- Image by © William Campbell/Sygma/Corbis

What does this development mean for digital rights in Nigeria? If the government can just wake up one day and restrict access to a website, what does that mean for the digital economy? What does that mean for democracy and Nigerians’ ability to criticise the government and voice their dissatisfaction to an administration they do not agree with? Does this mean that the website of an opposition party can be blocked ahead of the 2019 elections as long President Buhari’s National Security Adviser believes that such could prevent the commission of an offence? Nigerians should ask the government why they cannot access Nigerian websites that are available beyond the country. Today, it is Naij.com. Tomorrow, it could be your favourite news website or blog. Or it could be your personal social media account. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, a wise man once said.

Sodiq Alabi is the communications lead at Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African digital right and inclusion advocacy organisation.

Paradigm Initiative Asks MTN to Restore Full Internet Service in Cameroon

By | #PINternetFreedom, Press Release
 
For the past few days, MTN Cameroon subscribers have seen frequent disruptions of the internet connection provided by MTN. These disruptions occur when subscribers are already making use of the internet. The disruptions affect data subscription, as users are unable to make use of what they have paid for. In addition, some Mobile Money subscribers linked to MTN have also reportedly lost access to their personal accounts without any notification from the operator.
 
Paradigm Initiative is deeply concerned about this development as it affects the ability of Cameroonians to make meaningful use of the internet for their business and personal tasks. According to MTN Cameroon, these disruptions are “technical” in nature. However, in the past, the operator had blamed disruptions on “technical problems” when in fact the government ordered the Internet shutdowns, especially in the two English-speaking regions of the country. Even if this particular round of disruptions are really caused by technical issues, we aver that MTN has a duty to ensure the availability of good internet service in Cameroon. The Cameroonian people have suffered enough internet disruptions to last a lifetime and they must not be made to go through the ordeal again. MTN must find a permanent solution to its perennial “technical problems” once and for all.
 
 
Paradigm Initiative demande à MTN de restaurer un service Internet complet au Cameroun
 
 
Au cours des derniers jours, les abonnés de MTN Cameroon ont vu des interruptions fréquentes de la connexion Internet fournie par MTN. Ces perturbations se produisent lorsque les abonnés utilisent déjà Internet. Les interruptions affectent l’abonnement aux données, car les utilisateurs ne peuvent pas utiliser ce pour quoi ils ont payé. En outre, certains abonnés à Mobile Money liés à MTN auraient également perdu l’accès à leurs comptes personnels sans aucune notification de la part de l’opérateur.
 
Paradigm Initiative est profondément concerné par ce développement car il affecte la capacité des Camerounais à faire un usage significatif d’Internet pour leurs tâches professionnelles et personnelles. Selon MTN Cameroun, ces perturbations sont de nature “technique”. Cependant, dans le passé, l’opérateur avait blâmé les perturbations sur des ‘’problèmes techniques’’ alors qu’en fait le gouvernement avait ordonné les fermetures d’Internet, en particulier dans les deux régions anglophones du pays. Même si cette série particulière de perturbations est due à des problèmes techniques, nous estimons que MTN a le devoir d’assurer la disponibilité d’un bon service internet au Cameroun. Le peuple camerounais a subi assez de perturbations sur Internet pour durer toute sa vie et il ne doit pas être obligé de traverser à nouveau l’épreuve. MTN doit trouver une solution permanente à ses ‘’problèmes techniques’’ pérennes, une fois pour toutes.
 

Digital Rights in Nigeria 2017: The Darkening Clouds

By | Advocacy, Internet Freedom, Press Release

By Babatunde Okunoye

Nigeria, within the context of Africa, is very conspicuous and large. With the largest population and economy within the continent, no serious discussion about Africa is complete without the Nigerian situation considered.

Within the context of digital rights, however, in the past 3 years, Nigeria has achieved a relatively low profile status as a country where Internet freedom is largely respected. Although there has been worrying developments such as increased government procurement of surveillance equipment, the progress of the anti-social media bill and the use of the Cybercrime Act of 2015 as the basis of isolated incidents of arrests of citizens for comments made online, within the context of Internet shutdowns and the overwhelming repressive environments within the continent, the status of Internet freedom in Nigeria has nonetheless been deemed respectable.

Until this year, that is. The year 2017 has been a very active year for digital rights in Nigeria, in a more negative way than positive. At least 10 individuals were arrested this year for exercising their right to freedom of expression online. Many of them were journalists. Among those arrested were Mr Jerry Edoho, a Journalist with Ibom Nation newspaper in Uyo; Audu Maikori, a popular businessman; Mr Austin Okai, a youth leader in Kogi; Midat Joseph, Bureau Chief of the Leadership Newspapers and Kemi Olunloyo, a popular blogger. The Abuja offices of Premium times Nigeria, a premier investigative journalism outfit was also ransacked by Nigerian security services.

More troubling, however, were the bills proposed before the legislature to gag freedom of expression online. Prior to this year, the Cybercrime Act of 2015 was the principal legislation used as the basis of arrests of citizens for comments made online, especially via social media. In 2017, under the guise of combatting terrorism, the Federal government has introduced legislation that threatens freedom of expression. The Terrorism Amendment Act has been introduced in response to the secessionist movement in south-east Nigeria and the abundance of online chatter surrounding the matter. Similarly, a draft executive bill on hate speech has been presented by the Ministry of Justice.

Adding to the increased speculation that the Federal Government is intent on stifling freedom of expression online, it has emerged that the government through the National Communications Commission (NCC) has allegedly put in place plans to block websites and blogs deemed offensive to the government. It has also emerged that in the Federal Capital Territory, security agencies have put millions of mobile phones under surveillance. These moves are set against the planned launch of spy satellites with capabilities the public knows little about.

Nigeria has reached a tipping point. The blocking of websites and blogs, for instance, are actions that were once only associated with globally acknowledged repressive states like Egypt and Ethiopia. However, right before our eyes, the tide is turning against digital rights in Nigeria.

The warning signs of 2017 are a stark warning sign for civil society as we head into 2018, one year ahead of the election year of 2019. This is a huge opportunity for civil society and Nigerian citizens to coalesce our efforts to stem this rising tide against digital rights in Nigeria.

Paradigm Initiative Statement on the Social Media Shutdown in Somaliland

By | Advocacy, Internet Freedom, Press Release

On 13th  November 2017, the people of Somaliland went to the polls to exercise their democratic rights to elect their president. Prior to that, on 11th November 2017, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) of Somaliland announced that it had ordered telecommunications companies to block social media in Somaliland from 13th November 2017 until election results are declared. The Commission argued that the shutdown was necessary to avoid fake news and rumour mongering. Accordingly, on the polling day telecommunications companies blocked access to social media sites in Somaliland and access remains blocked until results are declared in the next couple of days.

Paradigm Initiative has been monitoring the developments in Somaliland with keen interest and hereby expresses deep concern at the gross violation of the right to freedom of expression occasioned by the action to shut down access to social media sites during this politically significant moment. Paradigm Initiative notes that blocking of access to social media sites has prevented Somaliland citizens all over the world from receiving pluralistic media coverage of the elections in question. This is evidenced by scanty online information on the progress of the election which means that citizens and the international community have to mostly rely on offline sources which are mostly characterized by limitations such as time lags. Thus the social media blockade in place may affect the credibility of the elections as crucial incidents may not be reported timely, or at all.

The social media blockade does not satisfy the three-part cumulative test for limitation of the right to freedom of expression as provided under article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Firstly, it is noted that no law was cited to justify the blockade for the purposes of avoiding fake news and rumour mongering. Secondly, the blockade is not justified to pursue aims listed under article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, namely, to protect the rights or reputations of others, or to protect national security or of public order, or of public health or morals. On this point, Paradigm Initiative would like to draw the attention of the Government of Somaliland to the fact that several African countries have demonstrated that it is possible to hold peaceful elections without blocking citizens’ access to the internet access. For instance, such elections have been held in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, among others.

Thirdly, even if the justification for the blockade was valid on the ground of protecting public order, blocking of access across the country constitutes an unnecessary or disproportionate means to achieve the purported aim and is therefore illegal. It is pleasing to note that a local human rights organization, the Somaliland Human Rights Centre sought to challenge the decision to block social media access in the Supreme Court of Somaliland. Sadly, the Supreme Court of Somaliland threw out the petition. Paradigm Initiative stands in solidarity with the Somaliland Human Rights Centre and the people of Somaliland.

Paradigm Initiative, therefore, implores the Government of Somaliland to guarantee citizens rights to freedom of expression online by reversing the order to block access to social media sites.

 

Paradigm Initiative Files FoI Request on Alleged Blocking of Online News Sites by NCC

By | #PINternetFreedom, ICT Policy

Lagos, Nigeria

Paradigm Initiative has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Nigerian Communications Commission asking the Commission to release information on alleged blocking of online news sites. The request was filed by the digital rights advocacy organisation today at the Abuja headquarters of the Commission, giving the Commission seven (7) days as stipulated by the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, to release information on the alleged attempts to block domain names of online newspapers.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Tribune exclusively reported on Sunday, October 5, 2017 “that the government, through the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), has engaged the services of a firm in Lagos to block the domain names of “several identified websites threatening national security.”

The newspaper further alleged that Commission wrote a memo to the firm, directing it “to immediately take steps to restrict access within the Nigerian cyberspace in respect of 21 (twenty one) additional websites by blocking the domain names. (The list of websites is attached).”NCC on Take down order-1

According to Adeboye Adegoke, Paradigm Initiative’s Program Manager, “the phrase “additional websites” in the memo indicates that there are other websites already marked for illegal censorship through an equally illegal blockage of their domain names. If this is true, then this would be a clear indication of this government’s anti-free speech agenda”

“It has been six days since Tribune published its story and NCC has not come out to deny the story. This is why we have filed this FoI request. NCC cannot wish this report away; the commission has to come out and address Nigerians on the issue”

In the FoI request, Paradigm Initiative asks NCC to provide it with answers to the following questions: Is the Nigeria Communications Commission or any of its agents in the process of taking steps to block or restrict the domain names of certain websites? If yes, what websites would be affected? What criteria were employed in selecting these websites? Under what legal provision is this being carried out?

According to Tope Ogundipe, Paradigm Initiative’s Director of Programs, “it goes without saying that blocking the domain names of newspapers is a brazen violation of the right to Freedom of Expression as guaranteed not only by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but also by international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory.”

Paradigm Initiative Statement on the Alleged Nigerian Government’s Attempts to Clampdown on Online Newspapers

By | #PINternetFreedom, ICT Policy, Press Release

Paradigm Initiative has expressed serious concern over alleged Federal Government’s secret attempts to block the domain names of several identified websites accused of threatening national security in Nigeria. These attempts are an unacceptable violation of constitutionally and globally guaranteed rights of expression and information.

According to a report published in the Nigerian Tribune, the Federal Government is alleged to be currently carrying out this operation through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), ostensibly hiding behind Section 146 of the NCC Act 2003. The section, which provides generally on the duties of a network licensee to assist the Commission in preserving national security and preventing the commission of a crime, must not be used by the Federal Government to intimidate online news providers and infringe on their rights.

According to Paradigm Initiative’s Program Manager Magoyi (ICT Policy), Adeboye Adegoke, “Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria expressly provides that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides similarly that everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”

While commenting on the development, Paradigm Initiative’s Director of Programs, Tope Ogundipe says that “whatever process is underway by the influence of the NCC and the NSA would result in a violation of the Constitution and should, therefore, be halted. The Federal Government should desist from covert acts as such and should instead release a list of such sites purportedly threatening national security and follow the due course of the law in handling this matter transparently.”

Mrs Ogundipe further states that in an already declining society which pays minimal regard to the freedom of expression and press freedom, a dangerous precedent would be set if the NCC goes ahead with this plan to restrict access to certain websites in the Nigerian Cyberspace.

While speaking further on the development, Program Manager, Magoyi (ICT Policy), Adeboye Adegoke said that, “The right to receive information and the right to give information is expressly codified in legal instruments recognized in Nigeria and so it would be sheer defiance by the NCC to attempt to make a derogation in such a manner”

Paradigm Initiative has noted the denial of this censorship plan by the Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, stating that he was not aware of any plan by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to gag online newspapers. The Honourable Minister should go a step further to investigate this claim and make a commitment to press freedom and unhindered internet freedom. On its part, Paradigm Initiative will continue to monitor the development and will deploy every legitimate advocacy tools to get to the root of it in ensuring that fundamentally guaranteed rights of citizens are safeguarded.

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If you would like more information about this topic or further project description on Paradigm Initiative’s Magoyi (Advocacy) work, please send an email to Adeboye Adegoke via hello@paradigmhq.org

Paradigm Initiative Statement on the Arrest of Martha O’Donovan by Zimbabwean Authorities

By | Uncategorized

Paradigm Initiative has noted with grave concern the arrest by Zimbabwean authorities of Martha O’Donovan over a social media post for ‘undermining authority of or insulting the President’.  Reports indicate that O‘Donovan, an American citizen who works with a TV station in Zimbabwe, allegedly re-tweeted a tweet by Magamba TV that “referred to a certain Goblin, whose wife and stepsons imported a Rolls Royce vehicle.”  She was subsequently arrested by the Police during a dawn raid on her home in Harare. The authorities also seized O’Donovan’s electronic gadgets.

Paradigm Initiative is of the firm belief that the arrest of O’Donovan in the circumstances described above grossly violates her freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Zimbabwean Constitution and various other international human rights instruments to which Zimbabwe is a party. For starters, the tweet forming the basis of arrest does not refer to the President. Further, even if it referred to the President, citizens and all residents are guaranteed the freedom to criticize public officials including presidents. In this regard, insult laws such as the one purported to be used in this matter are not in tandem with the modern democratic dispensation.

According to Innocent Kalua, Paradigm Initiative’s digital rights advocacy lead in Eastern and Southern Africa, “it is noted that the arrest has come just weeks after the creation by the Zimbabwe Government of a new Cyber Crime and Cyber Security and Threat Detection Ministry thereby heightening fears that the ministry was created to tighten government’s grip over the cyberspace in Zimbabwe.”

Paradigm Initiative calls upon the new Minister of Cyber Crime and Cyber Security and Threat Detection to rise up to the occasion and defend both online and offline free expression rights in Zimbabwe. Paradigm Initiative implores the government through the Minister of Cyber Crime and Cyber Security and Threat Detection, Honourable Patrick Chinamasa to immediately and unconditionally free Martha O’Donovan.

 

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Paradigm Initiative is a Pan-African digital rights and inclusion advocacy organisation with offices in Western and Southern Africa. For more information on this subject, please send an eMail to hello@paradigmhq.org. 

 

 

Central Africa is emerging a hotspot for Internet shutdowns in Africa

By | Advocacy, ICT Policy, Internet Freedom

-Babatunde Okunoye

The 21st century has forced an expansion of our vocabulary in ways we have never imagined. New words are constantly added to the English dictionary at a pace which puts in doubt our need for paper dictionaries. For example, the September 2017 update of the Oxford English Dictionary includes more than 1000 new words such as worstest, fungivorous and corporation pop.

Within the digital rights and Internet freedom community, the past five years have forced us to adopt a new word – Internet shutdowns, to explain a new kind of freedom of expression violation used by governments around the world to stifle free speech, among other digital rights. Internet shutdowns are intentional disruptions of Internet services and usually mandated by governments and executed by telecommunications companies or government apparatus itself. Internet disruptions have become a common tool for oppressive regimes across Asia and Africa in recent years. In Africa, they have been implemented to prevent leakage of examination results, to prevent an unofficial release of election results, and to prevent protests by citizens amongst other reasons.

In 2016, there were at least 11 disruptions of Internet services in Africa: Algeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Mali, Morocco, Uganda and Zimbabwe all implemented Internet disruptions in 2016. These included total Internet shutdowns and in other cases access to social media apps like Whatsapp and Facebook were blocked. In 2017 there has been 7 Internet disruptions across Africa: Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Togo. The two-year trend (2016 – 2017) in Internet disruptions in Africa has revealed that the regions which have led the continent in this digital rights violation have been Central (7 times), West (5 times), North (3 times), East (2 times) and Southern Africa (1 time) respectively.

Within the Internet freedom community, perhaps it is not surprising to see Central Africa take the lead in Internet shutdowns in Africa, given the socio-political situation in the countries in the region. It is clear that the general human rights climate prevalent in a country or region spills over into digital rights. Digital rights advocates must never lose sight of this fact in order to link their advocacy into the broader human rights narrative.

Internet shutdowns are perhaps the cruellest violations of the right to freedom of expression, given the scope of their implementation. And the trend of Internet shutdowns in Central Africa is a wake-up call for civil society working in the region. We must strive to curb this rising threat to freedom of expression with new approaches to advocacy. These strategies include emphasizing the economic losses which Internet shutdowns occasion in our advocacy messages and co-opting Telecommunication companies into the advocacy efforts against Internet shutdowns.

 

 

 

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