Monthly Archives

August 2018

Paradigm Initiative Statement on the Introduction of Social Media Tax in Benin Republic

By | Press Release

Paradigm Initiative has condemned the decision of the government of Benin Republic to introduce new levies on telecommunications operators with two taxes relating to the use of telecom services by consumers. This condemnation is contained in a statement released by the social enterprise today August 29th.

According to Internet Sans Frontiers, the development arises from Decree No. 2018-341 of July 25, 2018, adopted by the President of the Republic of Benin, President Patrice Talon. The decree creates a contribution of 5% on the amount excluding tax of communications (voice, SMS, Internet) and a fee of 5 FCFA per megabyte consumed by the user of Over The Top services such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Viber, Telegram, etc.

According to Tope Ogundipe, Paradigm Initiative’s Director of Programs, “we received this news with displeasure and wish to condemn this alarming trend in Africa countries. Earlier this year, the government of Uganda forged a policy which imposes taxation on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Viber to curb what is referred to as ‘Lugambo’ (gossip) by the President.”

“In August 2018, Zambia followed suit by approving a tax on Internet calls in order to protect large telcos, from losing money. In this same month, reports have it that the Government of Benin has also adopted this policy to tax Over-the-Top (OTT) services; producing a similar reason to Zambia.

We are also aware that the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) is currently agitating and putting undue pressure on the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission for the same practice to be adopted in Nigeria. According to ALTON, the activities of the OTT service providers are eating into the revenue telcos used to enjoy,” Ogundipe added.

The statement continued, as an organization working on ICTs for development, Paradigm Initiative is dismayed at this sort of advocacy by the association of licensed telecommunications operators which is entirely focused on gain and which aims to undo all efforts of government and its stakeholders to deepen access to ICTs in Nigeria.

The citizens of many African countries, including some of those currently affected by this policy, are barely able to boast of good connectivity (or any connectivity at all) to the Internet. For instance, the Internet Penetration in the Benin Republic is 33.1%,  in Zambia, it is 41.2%, in Uganda s 42.9%, and in Nigeria is 50.2%. Internet Technology is only just slowly developing in these regions yet the government is already stifling its development.

Rigobert Kenmogne, Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Rights Program Lead in Francophone Africa said, “It is an overstated truth that the growth and development of technology in any country directly affect its overall development. We call on the governments of Benin, Uganda and Zambia to challenge traditional telecoms providers to leverage and improve the use of technology in their business in order to position themselves to compete favourably in the new era of communication via the internet. Competition is only natural and even necessary for economic growth and should not be the reference point for governments to shoot themselves in the leg and stifle development. It is the 21st Century. Any nation desirous of growth and economic continuity must make itself suitable to accommodate innovations.”

Paradigm Initiative calls upon the government of affected countries to review and rule out these policies from its regulatory space.

Echoes from LIFE: ACHA REJOICE

By | Uncategorized

I became aware of AjegunleLIFE through my computer teacher who usually volunteers for the program.

My initial plan after I graduated from secondary school, was to learn a skill (Makeup). But when I heard about the LIFE program from my teacher, I chose to join the program because I wanted to learn more about ICT and entrepreneurship, which I know will be useful to run my makeup business.

Before I joined the program, my ICT knowledge was negligible. I was not taught computer in the secondary school I attended, and the school didn’t have computers. The few times I had access to a computer, I just played games on it, because that is the only thing I knew how to do with a computer.

When I joined the training I was prepared to go an extra mile to get the knowledge that I wanted. And am glad I did. I learnt a lot. Now If I wish to apply for a job, I can write a good CV and proudly include my ICT skills. Also, I have a good knowledge of entrepreneurship that I can use to establish my own business.

My plan after the program is to acquire makeup skill I initially wanted to learn before the program. I plan to use the knowledge I have on entrepreneurship and social media marketing to promote the business. I also have plans to further my education in a higher institution.

Déclaration de Paradigm Initiative sur les pertubations d’Internet au Mali

By | ICTs, Internet Freedom, Press Release

 

Les Organisations de la Société Civile au Mali sont encore profondément préoccupées par les multiples coupures d’Internet enregistrées avant et pendant les deux tours de l’élection présidentielle de 2018.

En effet le 29 Juillet 2018, jour du premier tour de l’élection présidentielle au Mali, le pays a enregistré à plusieurs reprises des coupures d’internet. Selon certains utilisateurs des TIC, l’ensemble des communications électroniques ont été perturbés pendant la période électorale.

Ces perturbations des réseaux Internet enregistrées s’ajoutent à celles de ces derniers mois dans le pays. La perturbation des médias sociaux tels que WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube et Skype est aussi une pratique régulière utilisée par le gouvernement pour entraver la communication entre les populations en période électorale et limiter l’action des opposants.

Au regard de la situation, Paradigm Initiative ainsi que l’ensemble des organisations de la société civile rappellent au gouvernement Malien que de tels actes violent la Déclaration Universelle des Droits Humains(DUDH), les déclarations sur les libertés de l’Internet et de la Gouvernance de l’Internet de l’Union Africaine(UA).

Paradigm Initiative appelle par ailleurs le gouvernement Malien à rétablir sans délai l’ensemble des réseaux Internet de communication sur l’ensemble du territoire national, tout s’abstenant de provoquer de nouvelles perturbations dans la période postélectorale.

Paradigm Initiative demande enfin que les réclamations concernant les différentes violations des droits numériques soient réparées tout en favorisant un accès équitable au service Internet sur l’ensemble du territoire national.

Echoes from LIFE: Ekpe Issac Daniel

By | Uncategorized

An old friend of mine introduced me to AjegunleLIFE program. One of the things that inspired me to join was the change I noticed in my friend. Prior to the training, he was a thoroughly careless and carefree guy. All of a sudden he had been transformed into this serious-minded person. I was intrigued by that change and wanted the same for myself. Another thing was he told about computer programming which he learnt at AjegunleLIFE. That was the first time I heard about computer programming, and it sounded like something that was going to be worthwhile. These two things inspired me to join the AjegunleLIFE program.

You need to understand where I was coming from.  I sincerely thought technology was only meant for graduates and wealthy people. Before I joined the program, I thought business was just all about owning a shop, so the thought of starting a business never crossed my mind. Rather I was thinking of going to school, get a job and manage my life anyhow. But now I have discovered what entrepreneurship is, that business can be more than a shop, and one can even run a business online.

My knowledge in ICT before the program was very little, because my schools didn’t have computers, and we were not taught computer.

AjegunleLIFE was, therefore, a life-changing experience for me. Within ten weeks, I had gone from not knowing how to boot the computer to using CorelDRAW to make design and playing around with Java. I had learnt how to save money and make investments now. I had learnt how to build a business and sustain in. Within ten weeks, I was fired up to go conquer the world.

Now, I am planning to own a company that will create websites for corporate organization and private individuals. My next step is to learn more programming languages and deepen myself in ICT know-how. Paradigm Initiative has given me a strong foundation,  now it is my job to build a great structure on the foundation.

Paradigm Initiative Selects Journalists for Inaugural Media Fellowship

By | Press Release

Two journalists, Victor Ekwealor and Emmanuel Elolo Agbenonwossi, have been announced as the pioneer Fellows for the newly introduced Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship. The media fellowship, a project of Paradigm Initiative, had attracted 116 applications from 19 countries.  This is according to a statement released by Paradigm Initiative, a social enterprise working on digital rights and inclusion in Africa.

 

Speaking on the development, Sodiq Alabi, Paradigm Initiative’s Communications Officer, said, “we are pleased to announce the selection of two brilliant journalists for the inaugural edition of our media fellowship. We are excited about the quality of applications the fellowship attracted in its first year. The Fellowship program is a 5-month program designed to immerse selected journalists in digital rights advocacy and digital inclusion intervention efforts in Africa. Fellows will work with Paradigm Initiative on various projects and contribute to improving media interest in relevant issues.”

 

Emmanuel Agbenonwossi  is a Togolese journalist, editor of GhanaWeb and managing editor of AfroTribune. Agbenonwossi works to advance professional journalism and digital freedom with media and Internet rights defenders globally. Emmanuel has contributed to policy research in Togo, Ghana, Cote-d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and other African countries. He is a fellow of UNESCO, ICANN, AfriSIG and the IGF Academy. Emmanuel Agbenonwossi is an alumnus of the University of Greenwich (UK), the Central University of Tunisia and the University of Malta. He holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism, a post-graduate diploma in Cyber-Security, Leadership and Business Information Technology.

Emmanuel Agbenonwossi (Editor, GhanaWeb) | 2018 Digital Rights & Inclusion Media Fellow

 

Victor Ekwealor is a Nigerian writer, storyteller and award-winning multimedia journalist. Victor works as Editor at TechPoint. His flair for storytelling stems from the desire to highlight untold African stories from the highest journalistic standards with modern technological tools. Victor believes Africans would either tell more African stories or watch the world do it for them. He is interested in, and mostly covers, the interaction of human beings and technology. He is also interested in technology, startups, innovations, policies, digital inclusion and digital rights.

 

Victor Ekwealor (Editor, TechPoint)| 2018 Digital Rights & Inclusion Media Fellow

 

The fellowship will commence in September 2018, with a two-week residency at Paradigm Initiative’s Nigerian offices, in Aba, Abuja Ajegunle, Kano and Yaba, and run until January 2019. Fellows will also get the chance to connect with Paradigm Initiative team members in Yaounde and Nairobi.

 

My Google Policy Fellowship Story – By Ajuwon Adenike

By | ICT Policy

“It is through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we’ve mapped our path” – Michael Dell

A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME

On the 25th of July, 2017, a friend sent me a direct message on Twitter with the link to the Google Policy Fellowship posted on the Paradigm Initiative‘s website. I was preparing for the first semester examinations in my final year at the University of Ibadan Nigeria at the time and I remember telling him I would check it out after the exams so I could give my all to my application.

My exams came to an end, and I turned my focus to the fellowship application. I went through the requirements and I chose the African Academic Network on Internet Policy as the host organization I would love to work in for two reasons. Firstly, the host organisation is based in Ibadan and I school and live in Ibadan. Secondly, the fellowship’s thematic focus included intellectual property, privacy and security, all areas that interested me. I was working on my research on ‘Intellectual Property Laws in Nigeria and Digital Media Technologies; A Copyright Perspective’ at the time I applied and this fit right in.

THE SELECTION PROCESS

The recruitment process was seamless. I applied online, the host organisation sent me a mail with some forms attached and a date for the interview. I filled out all the forms and got ready for my interview. It was a very wet morning and I felt the usual jitters and fear that accompanies interviews. I was also worried that being in school would factor against me.

I was interviewed by a panel of five and they realised I was very tense. So to make me relax, one of the interviewers asked me why I decided to learn Japanese. Talking about that made me relax a bit. They proceeded to ask me questions on Internet Policy, Internet governance, Net neutrality and copyright amongst other things.

They asked me how I was going to balance school and the fellowship program if I got in and I informed them of my flexible timetable for the second semester and how it allowed me time to work adequately. I left feeling quietly confident about the interview.

A final interview with the Project Director of the Network was conducted between myself and another candidate as we were the top two. I was offered the position which I accepted and I signed my contract on the 3rd of October, 2017 as the Google Policy Fellow at the African Academic Network on Internet Policy.

It was exciting resuming at my host organisation, meeting the members of the organisation and learning how things worked in the organisation. In the beginning, I felt odd because I was the youngest person but every single person in the organisation made me feel very welcome. The management worked with my class timetable and we were able to come up with a suitable work schedule.

LIFE AS A GOOGLE FELLOW

I handled and executed quite a number of tasks like writing op-eds on internet governance and policy issues, organising seminars, managing research grants between researchers and the Network, managing the researchers and members of the Network. I also represented the Network on panel sessions on Privacy issues, created the first ISGPP Privacy policy in preparation for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and I worked on concept notes for seminars. I served as a Project officer in the project unit where I organised the first conference on Data Protection and Privacy.

 

More of the tasks and skills I learnt can be found here.

MY BEST MOMENTS

It is almost impossible to pick just one time that can qualify as a “best moment” during this period but two particular moments stand out for me. First, it has to be the 1st conference African Academic Network on Internet Policy (AANOIP) organised in December 2017. Organising the conference taught me a whole lot of skills from management, to organisation, research writing, logistics, budget-writing and so on. The second was when I was on a panel on Cybersecurity and Trust at the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) in Abuja earlier this year. It was a scary task but also an opportunity to talk about Privacy and data protection in Nigeria and answer people’s questions on privacy issues.

I can’t begin to quantify how useful the fellowship has been for me. This fellowship has introduced me to Technology Policy, Privacy and Security. I have had the opportunity to work with and meet a lot of professionals and individuals while writing on internet policy and governance.

 

WHAT NEXT?

At the end of the Fellowship, I will be going to the Nigerian Law School for the compulsory one-year legal training. I also plan on writing the International Association of Privacy Professionals professional examination to be a Certified Information Privacy Professional/ Europe (CIPP/E). After law school, I will serve Nigeria and I hope to do that by working for the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) or Ministry of Communication to have some experience in the public policy space of Nigerian Technology.

This has been the best one year of my life and I am truly grateful for this opportunity.

Adenike Adejuwon serves as a Google Policy Fellow with the African Academic Network on Internet Policy, Ibadan.

Three civil society organizations will hold the third edition of their New Media, Citizens, and Governance Conference in Abuja

By | Press Release

Three civil society organizations namely, Enough is Enough Nigeria, Paradigm Initiative and BudgiT will hold the third edition of their New Media, Citizens, and Governance Conference in Abuja in October. The organizers made this known as registration for the conference opened.

According to ‘Yemi Adamolekun, the Executive Director of EiE Nigeria, “the conference will shed light on how new media leverages technology and platforms to connect, curate and share information in innovative ways.  As a subset of new media, ‘social media’ requires interaction and it is this element that opens areas of risk – security and privacy challenges.”  

“Social media has continued to play a crucial role in the political landscape of the world. Political office holders (elected and appointed), political office campaigners, government departments and agencies have utilized social media as a tool to lure and engage the constituents who benefit from their services,” Adamolekun added.

Chidi Odinkalu, the former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, will present the keynote address, while the conference is expected to welcome leading thinkers from across Africa as guest speakers.

It would be recalled that the 2nd edition of the conference was held in October 2016, 18 months after Nigeria witnessed the peaceful ouster of an incumbent president through the ballot; the first time in Nigeria’s democratic history. The conference served as a follow up to several discussions on the use of new media in elections and as a tool for holding government officials and institutions accountable. The 3rd edition of the conference will happen in Abuja, Nigeria on October 24 & 25, 2018.

Speaking on the development, Oluseun Onigbinde, the Co-founder of BudgiT said, “The conference creates an avenue to discuss rights and responsibilities of citizens and government in using new media in mutually beneficial ways. NMCG would include an array of panels on national security, social media conduct, national orientation and technical sessions, with experts and prominent voices in Africa invited to speak at the 2-day conference.”

Tope Ogundipe, the Director of Program of Paradigm Initiative called on active citizens to register to attend the conference to ensure their voices are heard. “Governance in the 21st century is a citizen-led affair. The office of the Citizen is the most important office in contemporary politics, and we must all play our part in ensuring good governance by leveraging our citizen power. The NMCG Conference is another opportunity to devise better ways of deploying citizen power for the good of our society“, she concluded. 

For more information on this release, please send a mail to media@newmediagov.ng.

Nigerians Demand For Immediate Transmission Of Digital Rights Bill

By | ICT Policy

Nigerians on social media have expressed concern at the delay surrounding the transmission of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill by the national assembly to President Muhammadu Buhari for the presidential assent. The much anticipated Bill was passed in March by the Senate, following passage by the House of Representatives in November 2017. Since then, the national assembly has not transmitted the Bill to the Presidency.

In a campaign led by Paradigm Initiative, hundreds of posts were made on twitter and other social media platforms, calling on the national assembly leadership to immediately transmit the Bill to the president. Using the hashtags, #DigitalRightsBill and #HB490, social media campaigners ensured the Bill received adequate attention throughout last week.

According to a statement by Paradigm Initiative, “We are worried that since the passage in March, the National Assembly is yet to transmit the Bill to the President for assent. Many Bills passed after DRFB have been transmitted to the president for his assent. This is why we have called on Nigerians to join us in a campaign dedicated to encouraging the national assembly to send  this Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for his signature.”

According to ‘Gbenga Sesan, Paradigm Initiative’s Executive Director, “As we have said times without number before, The Digital Rights Bill is an important piece of legislation, not only for human rights in Nigeria but also for the economy of Nigeria.  The Bill provides for the protection of human rights online, protect internet users from infringement of their fundamental freedoms and guarantee the application of human rights for digital platform users.

The Bill strengthens users’ trust & has been lauded as a step in the right direction because of the value it brings to the digital economy and the rights of the people of  Nigeria. The bill seeks to guarantee human rights within the context of emerging innovative technologies, security concerns, increasing citizen participation in governance and democratic processes.”

The Bill empowers law enforcement agencies in Nigeria to leverage technology to carry out their work with best practices obtainable anywhere in the world, It also empowers young Nigerians who want to learn, innovate and do other forms of legitimate activities online by safeguarding their rights to do so. The Bill when it becomes law will boost technological innovations in Nigeria and reverse the adversarial tendencies often displayed towards young people who embrace technology by security agencies as demonstrated by recent outrage against SARS in Nigeria.

Legal Battle Over CyberCrimes Act Moves to the Supreme Court

By | ICT Policy, Press Release

The legal battle over the constitutionality of sections of the Cybercrimes Act has now moved to the Supreme Court. Three civil society organizations, namely Media Rights Agenda, Paradigm Initiative and Enough Is Enough Nigeria are pleading with apex court to expunge Sections 24 and 38 of the Cybercrimes Act 2015.

 

The organizations commenced this journey in May 2016, when, their lawyer Olumide Babalola first filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit challenging the constitutionality of sections 24 and 38 of the Act at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. On January 20, 2017, the court, however, ruled that the sections were constitutional.

 

The unfavourable decision at the High Court pushed the organizations to approach the Court of Appeal. The appeal with case number A/L/556/2017 was however decided against the appellants, in a judgment delivered on June 22, 2018. The organizations are now putting their hope in the Supreme Court to ensure Sections 24 and 38 of the Cybercrimes Act 2015 are stricken off the Nigerian law book.

 

According to Tope Ogundipe, Paradigm Initiative’s Director of Programs, “It bears repeating here that Section 24 of the Cybercrimes Act deals with Cyberstalking and that section has been repeatedly used to harass and persecute journalists and critics. It’s arguably the most dangerous provision against freedom of speech, opinion, and inquiry. Sections 38 provides for the duties of a service provider vis-a-vis data retention and contains provisions that we believe are too vague and borderline unconstitutional.”

 

Ogundipe continued, “While we respect the learned Justices who did not agree with our submissions on the unconstitutionality of the sections, we, however, believe the courts have failed to carefully consider our arguments. In a concurring judgment, one of the justices of the appellate court agreed that the law should be reviewed to whittle-down its arbitrariness. We believe the sections should be removed in their entirety and we hope the Supreme Court would agree with us”

 

The respondents in the case are the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector General of the Police and the National Assembly.

Vacancy: Communications Assistant

By | Uncategorized

Paradigm Initiative, a leading social enterprise working on digital rights and inclusion in Africa, is looking for a creative mind to own the newly vacant role of Communications Assitant.

Job Title

Communications Assistant

Job Location

Lagos

Job Summary:

Creating exceptional digital and graphic design work for a variety of projects and activities such as website banners and displays, posters, newsletters, maps, charts, posters, corporate souvenirs, banner, signs and digital reports; and providing support to the Communications Officer on tasks including web and social media management.

Reporting to:

Communications Officer

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Work on in-house creative briefs to support project teams
  • Deliver creative design solutions across multiple platforms from conception to completion
  • Design content for websites, newsletters, and media packs etc.
  • Create and edit content for Social Media
  • Maintain the organization’s website appearance by developing and enforcing contents’ display standards
  • Suggest the best visual standards for the overall brand image of the organization
  • Participate in project meetings and positive discussions relating to appropriate graphics methods/techniques to meet project requirements
  • Coordinate relationship with vendors; preparing specifications and obtaining estimates for final approval;
  • Ensure effective running of the organization’s website
  • Facilitate training to participants of our L.I.F.E training program and organize community outreaches

Qualifications and Competencies

  • Proven graphic designing experience
  • Proven video and audio editing skills
  • Possession of creative flair, versatility, conceptual/visual ability and originality
  • Demonstrable graphic design skills with a strong portfolio
  • Ability to interact with other team members, communicate and present ideas
  • Up to date with industry-leading software and technologies (In Design, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Photoshop etc.)
  • HTML and CSS knowledge
  • Good knowledge of print media
  • Experience with WordPress and Web technologies
  • Highly proficient in all design aspects
  • Professionalism regarding time, costs and deadlines

 

Key Results Areas:

  • Timely completion of creative design solutions across multiple platforms from conception to completion.
  • Ensure high quality of design, photography, pre-press and printing output at all times.
  • Effective capacity building for beneficiaries on PI Programs/Projects

Application Process

Apply below via the Google Form.

Deadline

August 14, 2018

Resumption

Immediately

 

 

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