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Coalition Statement On Emerging Legislations on “Fake News” and Hate Speech in Africa

By | Press Release

We, the undersigned organizations, write to express our concern over the increasing trend of draft legislation on hate speech and “fake news” in the region. Many African governments have begun to draft legislation on these issues without regard to their obligations to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to protect the right of everyone to freedom of opinion and expression.

Article 19 includes the right to receive and impart, regardless of frontiers, information, and ideas through any media whatsoever. It is our position that the ongoing attempts to regulate the use of social media through overarching draft legislation with broad terms serve to decrease the openness of the internet and these draft legislations mask human rights violations and create barriers to long-term stability and peaceful dialogue.

Nigeria 

There has been an onslaught of anti-democratic draft bills in Nigeria within the past few months. In October, the Nigerian Senate introduced the Communication Service Tax Bill sponsored by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Nigerian Army. The Bill proposes a monthly tax burden on users of electronic communications services including services such as voice calls, SMS, MMS, pay-per-view services, and internet communication services. 

In November, the Senate introduced the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019 sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa. This bill seeks to regulate communications in cyberspace. The Senator mentioned that the Bill is being presented for ‘patriotic Nigerians’ who want peace for the country. The Bill punishes the transmission of false facts online, the provision of services to transmit falsehood, and the failure of firms and telcos to check abuses via their platforms. 

Another Bill that has raised concerns of pro-democratic organizations and citizens alike is The National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill 2019 also introduced in November. The Bill seeks to establish an Independent National Commission for Hate Speech, which would be empowered to enforce the laws and advise the federal government. The Bill prescribes a range of punishments including death by hanging for perpetrators of hate speech. The danger of the passage of this bill and the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill is even more amplified by the flagrant treatment of critical or dissident speech as hate speech by government officials in Nigeria. 

Despite strong criticism, Nigeria’s Information minister insists the country will go ahead with proposed social media regulation through amendments to the country’s Broadcasting Code to regulate online mediums. Civil society organizations working in Nigeria have expressed concerns that the ministry is using the broadcasting code, which is secondary legislation as a decoy to avoid public scrutiny on the proposed amendments.

Ethiopia

On the weekend of November 9, 2019, the cabinet of Ethiopia approved a new bill, called the Computer Crime Proclamation Bill that aims to prevent hate speech and dissemination of fake news, and referred the same to the House of Peoples Representatives for approval. The bill has not yet been made public, however, judging from the trend of internet controls in Ethiopia including the history of internet shutdowns, it can be deduced that one of the components that the law will touch on will be speech online including platforms such as Facebook and blogs, among others. Ethiopia is set for elections next year in May, hence the bill may become a weapon to silence dissent. 

Cameroon

At the beginning of the parliamentary session in November 2019, the Cameroonian government presented a bill in parliament that seeks to criminalize hate speech and tribalism. The bill, which criminalises and punishes the act through the amendment of section 241 of the penal code, was tabled Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at the National Assembly for prior consideration. The first paragraph of the Explanatory Memorandum states that “the amendment of this provision is now necessary in order to discourage the rise of hate speech of a tribalist and communitarian nature in the public space, particularly on social media, which endanger peace, security and national cohesion.” 

The Gambia

In The Gambia, while the cabinet responded to criticism and announced the removal of provisions that sought to criminalize insults in its revised criminal offenses bill,  it must also take similar steps to revise the Gambia Media Services Bill, which has been criticized as targeting journalists and their ability to do their work. This must also include every other legislation which emboldened dictatorships in its recent past. The Gambia must not reverse on the gains of its last election and should work with all stakeholders to review its laws in such a way as to emphasize its commitment to strong democratic principles. 

The Way Forward

On July 1, 2016, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in Geneva, in which the Council affirms that human rights that apply in the non-virtual world must be applied with the same strength in cyberspace. Above all, the Council strongly condemns “the intentional measures to prevent or disrupt access or sharing information online.” While hate speech and fake news are global realities, efforts by the State to address the issues must take into consideration, their commitments to human rights obligations. It is imperative that States at this stage respect their obligations to respect citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and the press. 

We hereby call on the respective policy-making institutions and agencies in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Nigeria, and other African countries that are considering similar rights-hurting bills, to take steps to discontinue and drop all draft legislations with provisions that would negatively impact how people participate online and use digital platforms. We encourage States to adopt an open process that accommodates the views of everyone, especially civil society, towards the enactment of new laws or revision of existing ones, and ensure draft legislation does not have the potential to infringe on the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. It is important that such proposals must provide for targeted judicial oversight, as safeguards are essential to prevent unaccountable and overzealous censorship.

Also, we call on the United Nations and African regional organizations such as the African Union, African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and others, to prevail on States to stay true to their commitments to international obligations to protect the rights of their citizens at all times.

Signed

  1. African Academic Network on Internet Policy
  2. African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms (AfDec)
  3. African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX)
  4. AfroLeadership, Cameroon
  5. Afrotribune, Togo
  6. Ayin Network – Sudan
  7. Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE)
  8. BudgIT Foundation
  9. Center for Media Research – Nepal (CMR-Nepal)
  10. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  11. Civil Society Advocacy Network on Climate Change and the Environment – Sierra Leone (CAN-SL)
  12. Co-Creation Hub
  13. Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
  14. Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria
  15. Gambia Cyber Security Alliance
  16. Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
  17. Global Rights
  18. HipCity Innovation Center
  19. Index on Censorship
  20. Information Security for Africa (ISfA)
  21. Institut Panos Grands Lacs
  22. Internet Freedom Foundation
  23. Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan
  24. Internet Sans Frontiers
  25. ISOC Nigeria Chapter
  26. Jamii Forums, Tanzania
  27. KICTANet
  28. Ladies Empowerment Goals and Support Initiative (LEGASI)
  29. Liberia Information Technology student Union
  30. Media Matters for Democracy, Pakistan
  31. Media Monitoring Africa
  32. Media Rights Agenda
  33. Merit Legal Advocacy & Human Rights Initiative (MELAHRI)
  34. Molly Land, Professor of International law and human rights
  35. NetBlocks
  36. Nigeria Youth IGF
  37. Open Net Korea
  38. Paradigm Initiative
  39. PEN America
  40. Praxis Center
  41. Public and Private Development Centre
  42. Rwanda Clubs for Peace Organization
  43. Senegal ICT Users Association
  44. SMEX
  45. Take Back Nigeria Movement (TBN)
  46. TechHer
  47. The Right 2 Know Campaign
  48. Youth Initiative for Africa Development

Template for Writing A Memo on the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB 132)

By | Digital Rights

To: Senator Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters

The Clerk, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters

From: Name of your organization/coalition/your name

Date: Insert the Date

Subject: Memorandum on the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB 132)

 

INTRODUCTION

Name is/are delighted to submit this memorandum ahead of the planned public hearing to discuss the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB 132) by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. 

A Statement of what you/your organisation does and how it relates to the bill in question. (Your Name)  opposes this bill in its entirety. Our position is that the ongoing process to pass this bill must be discontinued because it is not in the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians and we have highlighted the issues below.

Argument 1 

(A sample argument below)

The provision of the bill in Clause 3 contradicts the provision of the Nigerian Constitution in Section 37, which guarantees the fundamental right to freedom of expression. The clause makes broad provisions for how speech may be punished and used the term ‘false statement’ very loosely, failing to define what constitutes ‘false statement’ and leaving the determination of what is false to government and its agents alone.  We, therefore, recommend that the entire clause should be removed from the bill. 

Argument 2

(Another  sample argument below)

The bill is built on a false premise, and it seeks to duplicate existing laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There are existing laws such as Cybercrime Act 2015 and Libel laws that address offenses that the Bill seeks to create. We believe that the process of discussing the bill amounts to the waste of time of the Committee and all other stakeholders who have had to commit resources to doing their constitutional duty of engaging with the lawmaking process. Therefore, we join our voice to those of others calling for the withdrawal of this bill from Senate (or any other Chamber’s) consideration, now, or at any time. 

Argument 3

Argument 4…

Conclusion/Recommendation

We hereby conclude and recommend that this bill be thrown out as it does not fit into the ideals of a democratic society. We urge this committee to report back to the Committee of the Whole of the Senate with our recommendation that this bill should not be considered further in order to save this country the needless resources and time that will be spent on this suppressive and anti-people draft legislation. 

Best regards, 

Name of your organization/coalition/your name

—end—

Some Other Memo Examples 

 Joint memo

Organisation memo

Individual Memo 

Read: Submitting A Memo to the  National Assembly, 10 things you must know  

We strongly recommend that you write this memo immediately, given that Public Hearing notices do not usually give adequate time. Feel free to share your sample memo with us via notosocialmediabill@paradigmhq.org or, if you would like us to submit on your behalf during the Public Hearing (in addition to the eMail copy you will send once the Committee provides details), kindly use the same eMail address.

Also, use our Campaign materials available via this link to say no to the The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB 132)

Say no to the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB 132)

By | Digital Rights

Millions of Nigeria have spoken. And during the past few days, thousands of citizens have reached out to ask us to challenge the social media bill to keep the Internet free and open in Nigeria. While the calls, emails and letters are flooding, our commitment and advocacy efforts to preserve a free and open internet is unstoppable.

While we have been wary not to comment until we have seen the official copy of the draft bill out of our deep respect for the integrity of our regulatory and administrative process. We can now confirm that we have seen the official copy of the bill and given the high level of attention and the outpouring of the expression on the notice of proposed rule-making on open internet, we felt it was important to highlight the risks of this proposed bill. 

 Please help us share the social media content bellow. We’ve suggested sample text and graphics below.  Share the content with hashtag #SayNoToSocialMediaBill and ensure to submit a memo to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. We have created a template to help those with no previous experience of preparing memo for the Nigerian National Assembly. Please feel free to use this template. 

Tweets

Who decides what is a false statement? Only the government and its agents will decide what statement is false Disagreement with official figures? Criticism? Genuine mistakes will be punished.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132

What is transmission? If you share a joke to your followers, even without an intention to lie, the government can decide you have transmitted a lie and punish you under this bill. Parody accounts, satire, strong opinions and criticism will be punished under this bill. #SayNoToSocialMediaBill  #SayNoToSB132

 Punishments for expressions, government deem to be capable of diminishing public confidence in the discharge of his duties  range from 300,000.00 to 10,000,000.00, 3 years Imprisonment or both—Clause 3 Sub clause 1 (b) #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

 Providing services for the transmission of false statements of fact in Nigeria will punish social media influencers, online publishers, bloggers and fines will be 150,000 0r 2 years imprisonment or both.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132

Sub clause 3 gives government the latitude to use National Security, public safety, public trust, etc. as a basis to increase the punishment to up to 3 years imprisonment or 10 million naira fine. #SayNoToSocialMediaBill  #SayNoToSB132 

Sub Clause 6 says The Law enforcement department may direct the Nigerian Communications Commission to enforce an Access Blocking Order.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Sub clause 4 specifies punishment for service providers that fail to comply. Up to 10 million daily for non-compliance and can go up to “5millon” (An apparent contradiction)  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132. 

You can’t take your matter to court unless you have applied/appeal to the law enforcement department Breach of the right to a fair trial. How can the same agency be an enforcer and also a judge? Secondly, no law should preclude a person from seeking justice in the court of law.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Law enforcement can force internet Service Providers to transmit statements or pieces of information or content to a targeted number of users.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 18: Law enforcement can force intermediaries to disable internet access to its users. This is called a disabling regulation. The section says that once a disabling regulation has been issued a notice must be placed in the gazette. However failure to do this does not invalidate the regulation.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 19: Law enforcement can force media houses and ISPS to transmit statements or pieces of information or content to all of its users. #SayNoToSocialMediaBill  #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 23: The Law enforcement department can direct NCC to inform Internet Access Service Provider to censor. Intermediaries that do not comply can be fined 1Million Naira for every day that they fail to comply up to 10 Million.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 27: Declared Online Location. Target your organisation and put you on a list. You must let your users know that you are on the list (loss of revenue, abrogation of freedom of speech).  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 29: Order to internet Intermediary to disable access to DECLARED online location. Your website can be blocked.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Section 31—Once your platform is listed as declared you are not to make profit from it (so you cannot receive money from advertising, clicks, etc.).  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Section 33—You cannot provide financial support to a declared website.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132

“The Law enforcement department” is defined in the Interpretation clause (35) as the “Nigerian Police force.” This means that the Nigerian Police will be responsible for administering Part 3–5 of the bill.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

    Infographics

 

 

 

Submitting a memo to the  National Assembly, 10 things you must know!

By | Digital Rights, ICT Policy

A guide by Adeboye Adegoke, Paradigm Initiative

Submitting a memo to the Nigerian National Assembly on a draft legislation can seem like a big deal and we often get tempted to write it like a PhD thesis. However, the key thing is to keep it simple. If you are passionate enough about the issue, you are most likely going to be emotional in your writing. However, to be able to make those arguments count, I have identified 10 simple rules that you must follow based on my experience in working with the Nigeria’s National Assembly.

  1. Have a Strategy:  Having a strategy increases the chance that your memo would be considered and will influence what happens to the legislation by at least 80%. In terms of strategy, an important point to note is that it is not the best strategy for your memo to address every single issue in the draft legislation. It is often more effective to work with coalitions, partners and share responsibility among one another, assigning responsibility to each organisation/partners to speak to/address specific component of the draft legislation. This is mostly applicable when the bill is voluminous. However, some bills aren’t voluminous and it is okay to speak to the entire provision of such bills.
  2. Your memo should be structured:  To make sure your memo is easy to read. Try as much as you can to structure it as you would in an essay. The hint is to use the first paragraph to observe protocols (Address the relevant house leadership and/or the committee chairman and introduce yourself/organisation), you can then proceed to your arguments, using a new paragraph for each clause you want to speak to in the draft legislation(bill).
  3. Make Concise Arguments: Your argument must be concise. You must be able to show why the provision(s) you are speaking to/against is/are problematic in a direct way without writing long essays. The memos are mostly reviewed by the consultant to the committee working with the clerk and they are usually overwhelmed by the amount of documents they have to review. Bear in mind that hundreds, maybe thousands of other memos will be submitted (especially when the bill is a public interest one). Therefore, to make yours stand out, you must apply arguments that are straight to the point.
  4. You must be specific: Your submission has to speak directly to the content of the draft legislation (The Bill) for which a public hearing is being held. You have to be specific in mentioning the provision(s) you are speaking to. You must also identify the clause number and sub clause number as the case may be. Mention the clause, identify the problem(s) with it, and proceed to make your points about it.
  5. Referencing laws, International Instruments to bolster your argument; When you identify a clause you consider problematic, one of the best ways to drive your argument home is to reference already existing laws or International treaties that Nigeria is a party to. In this regard, always bear in mind that the strongest argument is usually the one supported by the Nigerian Constitution. As much as possible, link you argument to the Nigerian constitution, relevant Nigerian laws and applicable international instruments in that order.
  6. Avoid Name calling, Biases/Sentiments; Name calling is not a strategy. Irrespective of what you know about the sponsor, promoter or supporters of the bill, you must stick to the issues and not be seen as attacking other people’s personalities. Your writing must be as objective as possible, devoid of ethnic, religious or other biases.
  7. Support Your Argument with Recommendations: On each clause or subclause you speak to in your memo, you must recommend either an amendment to it or that the clause/sub clause be expunged totally. If you speak on a clause for example, you must recommend either of the following; i. Alternative wording ii. Revised texts or iii. That the texts be totally deleted.
  8. General Recommendation/Conclusion: In your last paragraph, you must make a general recommendation on the entire bill. Your recommendation can be any of the following; i. That the bill been thrown out in its entirety ii. That the bill be revised with the recommendations you have proposed in each of your arguments in the body of the memo or iii. That the bill be adopted as it is.
  9. Contact Information: Make sure to include your contact information. The committee may elect to reach out to you to clarify what they deem ambiguous in your submissions. Also, the committee often store such contact information in their database and ensures you/your organisation gets invited to submit a memo/attend a public hearing on subsequent related issues to the one for which you are submitting a memo.
  10. Some Technical Details: If you reference any authority or an academic work, do not forget to add a footnote and reference accordingly. Note that the word ‘section’ applies to laws that have been duly passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President. The contents of a bill are called ‘clauses’. Also, check for the actual name of the bill you are writing a memo on. Bills usually have short and long titles and assigned numbers (e.g SB132, HB98 i.e Senate Bill 132, House Bill 98). For example, the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, 2019 (HB98) is the short title for “A Bill For An Act To Provide For The Protection Of  Human Rights Online, To Protect Internet Users In Nigeria From Infringement Of Their Fundamental Freedoms And To Guarantee Application Of Human Rights For Users Of Digital Platforms And/Digital Media And For Related Matters, 2019”. 

    While the The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB 132) is the short title for “A Bill for an Act for Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and other Related Matters Bill, 2019 ( SB 132)”. Phrases such as “Digital RIghts Bill”, “Social Media Bill” are deployed to simplify the nomenclature and make it relatable to the public. Always check for the proper name for each draft legislation on the National Assembly’s website or through the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) website.

 

Nigeria: Could lack of digital skills be contributing to mass failure in UTME?

By | L.I.F.E.

By:Umar Amir Abdullahi

Every year, thousands of students write the Unified tertiary matriculation examinations (UTME) to compete for limited slots into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The UTME is administered by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), a body that was established in 1978 to administer entrance examinations into tertiary institutions across the Nation.

Prior to 2014, UTME took a paper-based test format but from May 17, 2014, all UTMEs have been computer-based tests (CBTs) requiring digital skills. The Nigerian Government can argue that by making the entrance exams paper-based, it is merely bringing the board in line with the 21st century which has been dubbed the digital century.

A majority of the students who write the exam each year come from Government Schools. Most of these schools do not have access to computers. Even in the few schools where computers are available, power to run those computers and skilled teachers that can instruct students are often unavailable.

I had hoped the Government would put the necessary resources in place to ensure students in public schools are being adequately trained in the use of computers so they can sit for entrance exams into tertiary institutions without fear. However, after 5 years of CBTs, that has not been the case. Instead, a number of businesses have sprung up that in exchange for money give the students a crash course in how to sit for their UTME. This puts unnecessary pressure on poor parents who not only have to raise thousands of Naira to make sure their children can register for UTME but also have to find additional money to enrol those children, who have never had access to computers, into CBT training centres which claim to be able to prepare them for the exams with just a few minutes of training.

Confidence is a key factor in how well one does in an exam. For a student who has never touched a computer prior to their UTME, asking them to write an exam using digital technology and expecting them to pass may be a tall order. Gaddafi was a student who attended Paradigm Initiative’s free digital skills training in 2019. During his interview, Gaddafi claimed he had sat for UTME before and failed. When asked what he thought was responsible for his failure, he said he had never touched a computer until the day of his exam. When the exam began, his body was shaking and he had difficulty focusing on the questions. How many stories like Gaddafi’s remain untold across Nigeria? Of students who failed their entrance exams because they had not been equipped with the digital skills to comfortably use a computer?

In the 2019 UTMEs, 1,792,719 students sat for the exam. Only 427,156 scored 200 and above. Any exam where only 23% of the candidates score 50% and above is a warning sign. Of those who failed, what role did lack of digital skills play in their failure?

To be fair, transforming UTME from a paper-based to a computer-based test is a good thing. A digital test, apart from being more in line with the skills required for the 21st century, also eases the logistics problems of having to print and transport under heavy guard large volumes of paper material for the exams. However, any advantage this offers will be defeated if the educational system is not training Secondary School Students to have the necessary digital skills required to sit for Computer Based Tests.

I can argue that the current state of affairs, does not bode well for the future of Nigeria. If students, mostly from poor backgrounds, keep failing entrance examinations because the Government has not provided them with computers to train with in their Schools and those students see their peers from more affluent backgrounds having access to computers and passing exams, it could be laying the stage for a future where the gap between the rich and the poor widens further. The affluent being able to gain admission to tertiary institutions while the poor lacking digital skills do not.

Not every Government School Student’s story earns on as happy a note as Gaddafi’s. Having attended Paradigm Initiative’s 10 weeks free digital skills program in Kano, he feels confident to write UTME again. We can only hope the Government invests in the necessary infrastructure to make the dream of a digitally literate Nigerian youth a reality.

Umar Amir Abdullahi is Paradigm Initiative’s former Program Officer from Dakata, Kano State.

Vacancy: Program Officer (Kano, Nigeria)

By | L.I.F.E.

Paradigm Initiative is a social enterprise that builds an ICT-enabled support system and advocates digital rights in order to improve livelihoods for under-served youth. Our programs include digital inclusion programs – such as the Life Skills. ICT. Financial Readiness. Entrepreneurship (LIFE) training program and Techtiary program – and a digital rights program, Magoyi. Across our offices in Nigeria (Aba, Abuja, Ajegunle, Kano, Yaba), Tanzania, Zambia, Togo and Cameroon, and beyond, as part of a pan-African expansion plan, we work to connect under-served youth with improved livelihoods through our digital inclusion and digital rights programs.

Job Title: Program Officer (DakataL.I.F.E.)

Job Summary:

In 2016, Paradigm Initiative started a digital readiness training for young people in Kano. Our training centre in Dakata has connected young women and men to life-changing opportunities through the Life Skills. ICT Skills. Financial Readiness. Entrepreneurship Skills (LIFE) program that runs over 10 weeks. We are now expanding the scope of the work beyond Kano, to cover much of the region.

The Program Officer we are looking for will organize, coordinate and manage the L.I.F.E program and events relevant to accomplishing the organization’s strategic goals and objectives, as well as establishing networks with partners.

Location

Dakata, Kano State, Nigeria

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Policy and Administration
  • Support with the identification and interpretation of program strategies and policies
  • Assist in administering training for other support staff and team members
  • Research and develop materials and reports that outlines the successful completion of programs
  • Logging complaints and problems associated with running the programs effectively
  • Supports the administrative team when the need arises
  • Attend corporate functions in order to build the organization’s network
  1. Resource Control and Financial Management
  • Effective management of tools and resources for program implementation
  • Keeps records of all financial transactions associated with program processes and completion
  • Ensure proper management of all budgetary allocations for program management 
  1. Programs Planning and Implementation
  • Impact the organization’s output by developing and interpreting initiatives and new trends of program development
  • Renders advisory services to the program manager or when required on matters of program planning, implementation, development and sustainability
  • Providing essential support services to the team on a regular basis
  • Provide regular updates of all planning processes, practices and program methodology
  • Collects and collates all reports of completed programs and events
  1. Community Relations
  • Identifying, developing and promoting partnerships with other external organizations
  • Providing the communities with relevant information about the organization’s programs and events

Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in any field of management or equivalent experience.
  • Experience in managing programs and events.
  • Competence in the usage of computer systems, software, data and IT applications.
  • Vast knowledge and understanding of program planning, analysis, implementation and development.
  • Experience in program design.

Remuneration

  • Commensurate with experience and skills

How to Apply

Please click here to fill the application form

If you are the person our team needs to lead this effort for Paradigm Initiative, apply before November 26, 2019.

Paradigm Initiative urges Ethiopia to Keep the Internet On

By | Press Release

For immediate release, June 24 2019

 

Lagos, Arusha

 

On the 22nd of June 2019, Ethiopia experienced an attempted coup against the administration in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region. The failed coup in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara regional state government led to four people being killed, including Ethiopia’s Army Chief of Staff and regional governor Ambachew Mekonnen. The Prime Minister confirmed this on a press conference on the 23rd June where he urged the nation to unite and assured them that the situation was under control.The shooting in Bahir Dar occurred when the state president was holding a meeting to decide how to stop the recruitment of ethnic Amhara militias by Asamnew. In a video spread on Facebook a week earlier and seen by a Reuters reporter Asamnew had advised the Amhara people to arm themselves in preparation for fighting against other groups.

 

Director of Programs, Paradigm Initiative, Tope Ogundipe stated, ‘’Prior to the attempted coup there was an internet shutdown from 11 June 2019’’. According to NetBlocks on 14 June, 4:00 p.m. UTC the internet was partially restored, however national connectivity was unstable. Network data showed that messaging apps like Telegram remained restricted as of Friday 21 with no explanation as to why. It was also reported that Ethiopia’s internet was largely disconnected from Saturday evening 22 June 2019 during procession of attempted coup. Paradigm Initiative’s Google Policy Fellow for Eastern Africa, Rebecca Ryaktimbo, noted ‘’This leaves much to be desired; that there’s possibly more to the shutdown than meets the eye at this precise time in the transformation process of Ethiopia’’.

 

Ethiopia is not new to internet shutdowns it has been common to experience shutdowns during uncertain times and school examination periods. However since the onset of the new administration efforts have been made to reform Ethiopia’s human rights scope. Among the attempts of this current regime is the privatisation of the Telecom industry which is dominated by a state owned Telecom company. Earlier this month, Ethiopia’s parliament approved a draft law that enables foreign companies to invest in the telecommunications industry of Africa’s second-most populous nation.The legislation establishes an independent communications regulator, accountable to the prime minister, that will be responsible for promoting competition.The new law also says that ownership of telecoms companies “shall be open without limitation to private investors including both domestic investors and foreign investors”.

 

Paradigm Initiative’s Google Policy Fellow for Eastern Africa, Rebecca Ryakitimbo added, ‘’Now more than ever the government of Ethiopia needs to keep the digital space open, at a time of rebuilding the democratic landscape of the nation’’. This includes freedom of expression and access to information. She continued, ”While governments may think that throttling and keeping a tight leash on the internet may help to control narratives during crisis, this is not the case in fact it does not only damage the economy but further destroys the people’s trust in the system.” The growing ecosystem of technology and innovation in Ethiopia is not the only party to face turbulence when the internet is shutdown more so the end users who are building businesses, relationships and finding their voices and communities of trust online are at the receiving end of the consequences of a shutdown.  

 

For more information on this release please contact

Paradigm Initiative’s media office via media@paradigmhq.org

Call for Applications: Regional Digital Rights Workshops / Appel à Candidatures: Ateliers Régionaux sur les Droits Numériques

By | Digital Rights

Paradigm Initiative will host two Digital Rights Workshops in Anglophone West Africa and Francophone Africa in October 2019. These workshops will be focused on understanding and navigating the policy and regulatory landscape related to digital rights and security, as well as learning advocacy and engagement strategies for those who work or are interested in promoting and defending human rights online in Africa.

The subject of human rights online has never been more important than it is now. The subject is not only relevant to policy makers, advocates, and civil society organisations working around the theme of ICTs for Development, but for all who rely heavily on the use of the Internet for their work for Human Rights and/or Freedom of Expression, media institutions, and individuals who use the internet for activism, advocacy or civil engagement.. Many African governments are rolling out legislation and policies which enforce privacy violations, infringements to freedom of expression, access restrictions and hurt other digital rights.

We invite you to apply to join the Digital Rights Workshop in either Anglophone West Africa or Francophone Africa by completing the application form at the end of this announcement. The 3-day session in either region, will be open to only a limited number of participants who live and work in these regions. Selection will be based on best-fit considerations with a focus on the likelihood that the workshop will be useful to your ongoing work. Workshop materials, coffee/tea and lunch will be provided during the workshop.. We have limited funding to support flight and accommodation, and you may indicate whether or not you need sponsorship on your application form. However, we strongly encourage that you do not apply for support if you can sponsor yourself to the workshop as this may improve your chances of selection if you qualify. Again, travel support is very limited and will be very competitive. Registration closes July 12, 2019.

Apply via: http://bit.ly/Digital-Rights-Workshops

 


Paradigm Initiative organisera en octobre 2019, deux ateliers sur les droits numériques en Afrique de l’Ouest Anglophone et l’Afrique francophone. Ces ateliers seront axés sur la compréhension, la navigation dans le paysage des politiques, de la réglementation, et sur la collaboration avec d’autres organisations qui sont intéressées afin de promouvoir et défendre les droits de l’homme en ligne en Afrique.

Le sujet des droits de l’homme en ligne est plus important que jamais. Ce domaine ne concerne pas seulement les décideurs, les défenseurs et les organisations de la société civile travaillant sur le thème des TIC pour le développement, mais également pour tous ceux qui comptent beaucoup sur Internet pour leurs travaux sur les droits de l’homme et / ou la liberté d’expression, les médias, les institutions et les personnes qui utilisent Internet à des fins d’activisme, de plaidoyer ou d’engagement civique.

Nous vous invitons à participer à l’atelier sur les droits numériques en Afrique de l’Ouest Anglophone ou en Afrique Francophone en complétant le formulaire de candidature à la fin de cette annonce. La session de trois jours dans la région ne sera ouverte qu’à un nombre limité de participants qui vivent et travaillent dans ces régions. La sélection sera basée sur les meilleures pratiques en mettant l’accent sur la probabilité que l’atelier soit utile à votre travail en cours. Le matériel de l’atelier, le café / thé et le déjeuner seront fournis pendant l’atelier. Cependant, nous vous recommandons vivement de ne pas demander de soutien de voyage si vous pouvez le financer, cela augmentera vos chances de sélection si vous êtes admissible. Encore une fois, l’aide aux déplacements est très limitée et sera très compétitive. Les inscriptions se terminent le 12 juillet 2019.

Postulez via: http://bit.ly/Digital-Rights-Workshops

 

Paradigm Initiative Condemns Internet Disruption in Liberia

By | Press Release

Abuja, Nigeria

June 7 2019

 

It has come to the knowledge of Paradigm Initiative that popular social media platforms in Liberia such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been blocked and cannot be accessed in Liberia.

Paradigm Initiative expressly condemns this act and declares that it is an affront to the freedom of expression and assembly amidst other civil liberties which belong to the citizens and residents of Liberia.

It is reported that the platforms have been blocked in reaction to the ongoing anti-government protests in the capital, Monrovia. The protests which have been tagged ‘Save The State’, were against the high inflation rates and corruption in the country.

Article 15 of the Liberia Constitution 1986 states that ‘Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression…’ and the act of blocking access to the internet or to social media platforms for whatever reason is a gross violation of citizens’ freedom of expression.

The government of Liberia must be aware of the social, cultural, educative and economic value and relevance of the Internet. Business and human lives thrive not only on communication but on other benefits provided by social media platforms and the internet, and to block access to same is to act tyrant and disregard the liberties of the people. Grave and serious legal and historic impacts will be occasioned as a result of the action of the Liberia government.

With one irrational action, the government of Liberia has successfully abused its citizens and residents of their rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, the right to learn, their right to access the internet and other freedoms and liberties connected to the use of the internet.

We hereby call on the Liberian government to restore access to all disrupted Internet services, and uphold all human rights of its citizens.

For more information on this release, please contact Paradigm Initiative’s Communications Officer via media@paradigmhq.org

Meet the Paradigm Initiative Team at RightsCon 2019

By | Digital Rights

Paradigm Initiative will be represented by 6 team members at RightsCon 2019 holding in Tunisia next week. The team, comprising Rebecca Ryakitimbo (Google Policy Fellow, Eastern Africa), Bulanda T. Nkhowani (Google Policy Fellow, Southern Africa), Rigobert Kenmogne (Program Officer, Francophone Africa), Adeboye Adegoke (Program Manager, Anglophone West Africa), ‘Gbenga Sesan (Executive Director) and Tope Ogundipe (Director of Programs), will speak on 12 panels and organise/contribute to a series of engaging sessions.

Some of the sessions include ‘Developing a Digital Rights model law for Africa’, Elections and Public Discourse in Africa: Do Social Media Platforms Level the Playing Field?’, ‘Changing Practices of Internet Manipulation’, ‘Kunyamazisha: Gagging Online Free Speech in Sub-Saharan Africa’, ‘Improving Cooperation to Advance Human Rights Online’, ‘Putting Users First! The Responsibility of Tech SMEs in the Global South to Respect Human Rights’, among others.

See sessions that team members are hosting, or speaking at, below:

June 12
0900 – 1015: Cloudy with a Chance of Cybernorms (‘Gbenga Sesan speaking)
0900 – 1015: Improving Cooperation to Advance Human Rights Online (‘Gbenga Sesan speaking)
1715 – 1830: Multistakeholder Models of Content Moderation: A Global Perspective (‘Gbenga Sesan speaking)

June 13
0900 – 1015: Developing a Digital Rights Model Law For Africa (Adeboye Adegoke speaking)
0900 – 1015: Changing Practices of Internet Manipulation (Rigobert Kenmogne speaking)
1030 – 1145: Does Social Media Deserve a Sin Tax? The Impact of Internet Service Levies on Human Rights and  Sustainable Development in Africa (‘Gbenga Sesan speaking)
1415 – 1530: Putting Users First! The Responsibility of Tech SMEs in the Global South to Respect Human Rights (‘Gbenga Sesan speaking)
1545 – 1700: Elections and Public Discourse in Africa: Do Social Media Platforms Level the Playing Field? (Adeboye Adegoke hosting)
1545 – 1700: Defining Meaningful Access: An expanded approach to connectivity (Tope Ogundipe speaking)
1715 – 1830: Business and Human Rights in Africa and South-Asia: Network Shutdown & Data Disclosure Requests Under Conflicting Legal Frameworks (‘Gbenga Sesan speaking)

June 14
0900 – 1015: Kunyamazisha: Gagging online free speech in Sub-Saharan Africa (Bulanda T. Nkhowani moderating, Rebecca Ryakitimbo speaking)
1030 – 1145: Aligning Cybercrime Laws with International Human Rights Standards (‘Gbenga Sesan speaking
1200 – 1300: “Causing an UPROAR!” Over Internet Freedom at the Universal Periodic Review (Adeboye Adegoke speaking)

For updates from #RightsCon, follow our twitter handle, @ParadigmHQ, and for more details about RightsCon, visit the official conference website at https://www.rightscon.org.

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