Category

Advocacy

APPEL À PROPOSITION: Production d’un court métrage sur l’état des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DigitalJobs, ICT Policy, ICTs

 Introduction

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) est une entreprise sociale qui construit des systèmes de soutien basés sur les TIC et plaide pour les droits numériques afin d’améliorer les moyens de subsistance des jeunes Africains mal desservis. PIN a développé Londa: un rapport sur l’état des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique, qui présente l’état des droits numériques dans 20 pays africains et formule des recommandations clés pour les droits numériques et la protection de l’inclusion. Il capture entre autres, la fracture numérique aggravée par la pandémie du COVID-19. Le rapport met au jour des infractions dans différents domaines thématiques tels que la vie privée, l’accès à l’information et la liberté d’expression avec un contexte législatif et politique bien exposé.

Raison d’être et portée

PIN cherche à produire un court métrage, de 15 à 20 minutes, qui raconte l’histoire des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique. Le film doit faire ressortir un thème majeur dans les 20 pays rapportés à Londa. Le but est de présenter une production visuelle qui peut être vue et comprise par divers membres de la société africaine. Le langage utilisé doit être simple, inclusif et compréhensible pour atteindre un large public en Afrique. En tant que tel, le demandeur doit répondre en indiquant une stratégie de marketing solide.

 Chronologie

La production du scénario devrait avoir lieu au cours de la dernière semaine de février et la production réelle du film devrait commencer le 1er mars 2021. PIN s’attend à ce qu’un film finalisé soit produit d’ici le 20 avril 2021

 Attentes

PIN recherche une société de production pour faire ce qui suit:

Développer un scénario pour le film de Londa.

  • Produire le film en anglais et en français avec des sous-titres en swahili.
  • Assurer la diffusion du film auprès des publics et des parties prenantes anglophones et francophones, et doubler le film en version française en plus de la production originale anglaise.
  • La société de production de films doit disposer d’un équipement de production moderne et d’un personnel qualifié capable de rédiger des scénarios, de traduire en français, de produire des films et de doubler le film avec les conseils de l’équipe de communication interne de PIN.
  • La société de production cinématographique doit être ouverte à rencontrer régulièrement l’équipe PIN pour toute clarification et mise à jour.

Tâches de production

La société de production de films fera ce qui suit:

  • Développer le scénario anglais et la version française.
  • Produire un court métrage anglais et un doublage français, d’ici le 20 avril 2021.
  • Aligner étroitement la version doublée avec le style et le ton de l’original, tout en la maintenant parfaitement synchronisée avec les lèvres, les expressions et le langage corporel des acteurs.
  • Enregistrer et utiliser une narration française standard et préparez la musique de fond pour le film.
  • Finalisez la production originale en anglais et le doublage en français selon les commentaires fournis par Paradigm Initiative.
  • Finaliser tous types de données (scripts, images, clips, etc.) après consultation et approbation.
  • Utilisez le dernier logiciel de copie de haute qualité.

 Tâches de marketing et de distribution

Pour s’assurer que le film est largement distribué et promu sur les plateformes et canaux locaux et internationaux (en ligne et hors ligne), la société de production doit avoir la capacité de planifier et d’exécuter le marketing et la distribution du film. La société de production doit être capable de faire ce qui suit:

  • Développer un plan marketing complet de 3 mois (mai-juillet) comprenant le public, les médias, les canaux, les attentes et les coûts.
  • Développer et partager une stratégie complète de médias sociaux pour le marketing et la distribution du film.
  • Développer et partager un plan de relations publiques complet pour le marketing et la distribution du film.
  • Veiller à ce que le film soit correctement répertorié sur les plateformes de VOD et les programmes de médias traditionnels en Afrique et à l’étranger.
  • Assurer que le film soit répertorié dans toutes les bases de données de films internationales, les festivals pertinents et les encyclopédies.
  • Faire la publicité de spots, d’affiches et de teasers sur les médias traditionnels, notamment les journaux, la radio et la télévision.
  • Rédiger et produire un contenu et des critiques de qualité, en tenant compte des conventions et des limites des plateformes de médias sociaux.
  • Produire du contenu de haute qualité pour les plateformes de médias sociaux de Paradigm Initiative, notamment Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn et Instagram.
  • Créer et éditer des vidéos qui peuvent être publiées sur les plateformes pour promouvoir le film et le rapport sur les droits numériques en Afrique.
  • Partager régulièrement le contenu avec PIN.
  • Gérer et répondre aux commentaires dans les médias et les médias sociaux.

Qualifications, antécédents et expérience

L’entreprise idéale doit avoir une expertise et une créativité techniques / professionnelles de haut niveau en matière de rédaction, de production et de doublage de films. Le candidat retenu doit:

-Soumettre deux exemples de chacune des œuvres suivantes: Un film-scénario, un film et des productions de doublage vidéo en français directement produites par le candidat.

-Démontrer des compétences en scénarisation, production, développement et doublage de films / films en français. Le film produit doit être en anglais et doublé en français et le scénario doit être produit en anglais et en français.

Les accents français pris en charge incluent la France, la Suisse ou l’Afrique (Togo, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Sénégal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Congo, Bénin, Tchad, Cameroun, Gabon, RCA, Niger, Mali, Maroc, Tunisie, Algérie).

Soumission

La proposition doit fournir les informations suivantes:

  • Proposition technique: aperçu et méthodologie pour entreprendre la rédaction du scénario; la traduction du scénario; la production du film; le doublage vidéo; le plan de marketing et de distribution ainsi que le plan de travail détaillé montrant les activités importantes de la mission et les jalons.
  • Proposition financière: Inclure un devis détaillé pour la production indiquant tous les coûts nécessaires.
  • La proposition doit également inclure les coordonnées de trois(3) références. Veuillez soumettre la proposition avec le portefeuille de travaux tel que requis et mentionné dans la section qualifications ci-dessus.
  • Les soumissions doivent inclure les directives de sécurité COVID-19.

Si cet appel à proposition décrit vos capacités, veuillez soumettre votre proposition avant le 15 février 2021. Paradigm Initiative encourage les soumissions collaboratives de plusieurs candidats.

Veuillez soumettre vos propositions à rfp@paradigmhq.org avec comme “objet”: Production cinématographique: Londa

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL: Production of a Short Film on the State of Digital Rights and Inclusion in Africa

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, ICT Policy, ICTs

 Introduction

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of under-served young Africans. PIN has developed Londa: A Report on the State of Digital Rights and Inclusion in Africa which presents the state of digital rights in 20 African countries and makes key recommendations for digital rights and inclusion protection. It captures among other things, the digital divide worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report unearths infractions on different thematic areas such as privacy, access to information, and freedom of expression with the legislative and policy backdrop well enunciated.

Rationale and Scope

PIN seeks to produce a short film, of between 15 and 20 minutes, that tells the story of digital rights and inclusion in Africa. The film must bring out a major theme across the 20 countries reported in Londa. The purpose is to present a visual production that can be viewed and understood by diverse members of the African society. The language used must be simple, inclusive, and comprehensible to reach a wide audience in Africa. As such, the applicant must respond with an indication of a robust marketing strategy.

Timeline

The production of the script is expected to take place in the last week of February with the actual production of the movie expected to commence on 1 March 2021. PIN expects a finalised film product by 20 April 2021

Expectations

PIN is hiring a production company to do the following;

  • Develop a script for the film from Londa
  • Produce the film in English and French with Swahili subtitles.
  • To ensure the distribution of the movie for Anglophone and Francophone audiences and stakeholders, Paradigm Initiative is looking for a movie production company to French dub the film in addition to the original English production.
  • The movie production company should have modern production equipment and qualified personnel capable of scriptwriting, French translation, film production, and dubbing the movie with guidance from PIN’s internal communications team.
  • The film production company must be open to meet with the PIN team regularly for any clarifications and updates.

Production Tasks

The movie production company will do the following:

  • Develop the English script and French version.
  • Produce an English short film and a French dub, by 20 April 2021.
  • Align the dubbed version closely with the style and tone of the original, while keeping it perfectly synchronised to the actors’ lips, expressions, and body language.
  • Record and use standard French narration and prepare background music for the movie.
  • Finalise the original English production and French dub according to feedback provided by Paradigm Initiative.
  • Finalise any type of data (scripts, images, clips, etc.) after the consultation and approval.
  • Use the latest high-quality dubbing software.

Marketing and Distribution Tasks

To ensure that the movie is widely distributed and promoted on local and international platforms and channels (both online and offline), the production company must have the capacity to plan and execute the marketing and distribution of the film. The production company must do the following:

  • Develop a 3-month comprehensive marketing plan (May-July) including the audience, media, channels, expectations, and cost.
  • Develop and share a comprehensive social media strategy for the marketing and distribution of the movie.
  • Develop and share a comprehensive PR plan for the marketing and distribution of the movie.
  • Ensure the movie is appropriately listed on VOD platforms and traditional media programs both in Africa and abroad.
  • Ensure the movie is listed on all international movie databases, relevant festivals, and encyclopedias.
  • Advertising of spots, posters, and teasers on traditional media including newspapers, radio, and TV
  • Write and produce quality content and reviews, taking into account the conventions and limitations of social media platforms.
  • Produce high-quality content for Paradigm Initiative’s social media platforms which includes Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Linked In, and Instagram.
  • Create and edit videos that can be posted across the platforms to promote the movie and the Digital Rights in Africa report.
  • Regularly share the content with PIN.
  • Manage and respond to feedback in the media and social media.

Qualifications, Background, and Experience:

  • The ideal company must have movie scriptwriting, production, and dubbing high level technical/professional expertise and creativity. The successful applicant is required to:
  • Submit two examples of each of the following works: A film-script, a film, and French video dubbing productions directly produced by the applicant.
  • Demonstrate competency in scriptwriting, production, developing, and dubbing movies/films in French. The film produced must be in English and dubbed in French and the scriptwriting must be produced in both English and French.
  • Supported French accents include France, Swiss or African (Togo, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Congo, Benin, Tchad, Cameroon, Gabon, RCA, Niger, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria).

 Submission:

The proposal should provide the following information:

  • Technical proposal: Outline and methodology for undertaking the scriptwriting, translation of the script, film production, video dubbing, marketing, and distribution plan as well as, the detailed work plan showing the assignment’s important activities and milestones.
  • Financial proposal: Include a detailed quotation for the production showing all necessary costs.
  • The proposal must also include the contact details of three references. Please submit the proposal with the works portfolio as required and mentioned under the Qualifications section above. Submissions should include COVID-19 safety guidelines.

If this RFP describes your capacities, kindly submit your proposal by 15 February 2021. PIN welcomes collaborative submissions of more than one applicant.

Please submit proposals to rfp@paradigmhq.org with the subject line: Film Production: Londa

LE FLASH: Paradigm Initiative Dévoile DRIF21 à Travers une Conférence de Presse Virtuelle.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DRIF, ICT Policy

Le vendredi 15 janvier, Paradigm Initiative, a organisé une conférence de presse virtuelle pour lancer officiellement la 8e édition du Forum sur les Droits Numériques et l’Inclusion baptisé DRIF21 avec la participation de plusieurs journalistes de toute l’Afrique. La conférence visait à annoncer l’ouverture des inscriptions de DRIF21, du 18 janvier au 18 février 2021.

Sur le panel, une équipe de Paradigm Initiative constituée de Adeboye Adegoke, responsable du programme des droits numériques, Thobekile Matimbe, Community Manager et Tosin Abolaji, responsable du programme de l’inclusion numérique, a éclairé les représentants des médias sur la raison d’être et ce qui fait de DRIF21 un événement très attendu. Le panel a également annoncé lors de la conférence que DRIF21 va devenir continental et sera co-organisé par plusieurs autres organisations dans 12 pays africains. Les pays hôtes comprennent la Somalie, l’Éthiopie, l’Ouganda, le Soudan du Sud, le Kenya, la Tanzanie, le Tchad, le Nigéria, la Namibie, le Cameroun, la Zambie et la République centrafricaine.

DRIF21 est l’événement phare de Paradigm Initiative qui se déroulera du 12 au 30 avril 2021. Il convient de noter que DRIF21 sera un mélange de sessions virtuelles et physiques. L’événement sera retransmis en direct sur les plateformes de médias sociaux de PIN. DRIF21 est organisé selon un modèle qui célébrera les communautés multi-pays et qui contribuent à la promotion des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique.
Le Forum sur les Droits Numériques et l’inclusion (DRIF) est une plateforme importante où les conversations sur la politique numérique en Afrique sont façonnées, les orientations politiques débattues et les partenariats forgés pour l’action.

Pour plus d’informations sur DRIF21, cliquez ICI.

Envie d’assister à DRIF21? Inscrivez-vous ICI.

Pour toute autre demande, envoyez-nous un e-mail: drif@paradigmhq.org

NEWS BRIEF: PARADIGM INITIATIVE (PIN) HOLDS MEDIA PARLEY TO KICKSTART DRIF21

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DRIF

Paradigm Initiative on Friday, January 15th, organized a virtual media parley to officially kick start the 8th edition of Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum dubbed DRIF21. The virtual media parley attended by journalists from across Africa announced the start of registration for the event programmed for January 18th – February 18th, 2021.

On the panel to enlighten media representatives on the raison d’etre and what makes DRIF21 an anticipated event were, Paradigm Initiative’s Senior Program Manager Mr. Adeboye Adegoke in charge of Digital Rights, Mrs. Thobekile Mathimbe PIN’s Community Manager, and Mr. Tosin Abolaji, Programs Manager in charge of Digital Inclusion. It was highlighted in the media parley that DRIF21 is going continental and will be co-hosted by several other organizations in 12 African countries. The hosting countries include Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Chad, Nigeria, Namibia, Cameroon, Zambia, and the Central African Republic.

DRIF21 is the Paradigm Initiative flagship event that will run from April 12 – 30, 2021. Worthy to note is that DRIF21 will be a mixture of both virtual and in-person sessions. The event will be transmitted live on pin’s social media platforms. The Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) is an important platform where conversations on digital policy in Africa are shaped, policy directions debated, and partnerships forged for action. DRIF21 is organized under a model that will celebrate the multi-country communities that contribute to promoting digital rights and inclusion in Africa.

For more information about DRIF21, Click HERE.

Want to attend DRIF21? Register HERE.

For other inquiries, reach out to the DRIF21 team via e-mail: drif@paradigmhq.org

 

PIN Asks Court to Stop NCC from Disconnecting Over 100 Million Nigerians

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Press Release

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) has asked the court to restrain the Nigerian government and telecommunications service providers from carrying out a recent order requiring that all SIM cards not linked to National Identity Numbers be disconnected by the telecommunications service providers by December 30, 2020. The organisation decries the Nigerian government’s order requiring all telecommunications service providers to ask their subscribers to link their National Identification Numbers (NIN) to the SIM cards within two weeks. PIN says it is seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the government and the service providers from carrying out the draconian order as it believes it is a violation of fundamental rights to freedom of expression of Nigerian citizens as guaranteed by Section 39 of the Nigerian 1999 constitution (as amended).

“The proposed blocking of SIM cards not linked with the National Identity Number is unlawful and unconstitutional,” says Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative. “Many young people and others, using their mobile phones for expression or to do business online will be affected by the poorly thought-out policy. No reasonable Nigerian will support such a policy that is geared to make life unbearable for Nigerian citizens.”

In June 2020, the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission, Aliyu Aziz, said only 38% of Nigerians have any form of identification. According to him: “…over 100 million Nigerians have no identity (ID). These include the poorest and the most vulnerable groups, such as the marginalised – women and girls, the less-educated people, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, people with disabilities and people living in rural and remote areas.”

The said policy has created panic in the polity since it was announced. Nigeria, at the moment, is experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the daily numbers from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in the past one week. “This is a time when we need to discourage public gatherings and crowds, but it appears that the government is not sensitive enough and has asked that 100 million Nigerians should go and register for the National Identification Number within 2 weeks, so we are left with no choice but to seek the intervention of the court.”

“Requiring over 100 million Nigerian citizens to register for NIN in two weeks is not only unrealistic but a fire brigade approach to governance that will not bring any value to the people,” says Valery Njiaba, Communications Officer at Paradigm Initiative. “Whatever the government is trying to achieve by the strange directive is ignoble. When the same government of Nigeria tried to compel students writing UTME examinations to register for the NIN as a pre-requisite to sitting for the examinations earlier this year, many students couldn’t register, even though there are documented cases of government officials and law enforcement officials taking advantage of the desperation of the students to register for NIN to extort them and their parents. The government was forced to walk back on the policy at that instance. These are the types of effects the fire-brigade approach to policymaking could lead to”, Valery concluded.

Ethiopia’s Tigray Crisis: Net Blackout and Govt’s One-Way Fact Check.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Internet Freedom

Ethiopia has had a challenging 2020 relative to the internet. There has been a triple outage – two restricted to particular zones and one nationwide. The first outage in western Oromia lasted three months in an area government was combating rebels.

The second and more impacting being the nationwide blackout imposed in June, through the better part of July followed the killing of a famed Oromo artiste, Hachaalu Hundessa, in the capital Addis Ababa. That blackout lasted over three weeks according to Net Blocks.

The more recent restricted outage is in the northern Tigray region where the government says it is carrying out a “rule of law operation” against the recalcitrant regional government led by the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, TPLF.

Immediately after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “declared war” on the TPLF in early November 2020, internet connectivity was cut across Tigray as federal forces engaged the regional forces in hostilities that have triggered a humanitarian crisis along the border with Sudan.

Government’s one-way fact-checking via Facebook / Twitter

Days after the operation began in western Tigray, the government announced official social media channels (Facebook / Twitter) – to debunk fake news. Relaying official account of the operation and debunking misinformation was the main task of the State of Emergency Fact-Checking handles.

From new reports about the bombing of a dam, enlisting of South Sudanese soldiers, and talk of regional even continental mediation; the government debunked all of the above whiles confirming other separate incidents reported in the press and posted on social media.

Incessant as the calls for de-escalation and restoration of especially communication services have been, the calls have all been rebuffed by Addis Ababa. The United Nations, African Union, human, media, and digital rights groups, have all made the unheeded call.

Most people tweeting about the crisis are believed to be Ethiopians from the diaspora and or political and security watchers who receive their information from other sources – be it diplomatic or by other means.

The regional authorities despite the blackout continue to grant interviews especially to the major news agencies – Reuters, AFP whiles other journalists in the region also relay news via Twitter especially.

Analysts on Ethiopia’s ‘assault’ on connectivity

Internet Rights expert, Ekai Nabenyo, East Africa lead for net rights group Paradigm Initiative, PIN; in an article described the Ethiopian government’s appetite for internet shutdowns as “insatiable and atavistic.” 

“…in blatant disregard of basic human entitlements, the government of Ethiopia never missed an opportunity to violate the rights of citizens. At the slightest provocation, the government appears to always have as its first option, internet shutdowns and communication restriction.”

“Internet shutdowns are never a good option in times of crisis or national emergencies. A society that does not have access to information is a society that is walking in a fathomless abyss,” he added.

For other analysts, it was intriguing that a government creates the conditions for fake news to be peddled yet positions itself to be a “unilateral” source of credible information. 

Why the outrage and calls for lifting measure

The Ethiopian government did not give any reasons – it hardly ever gives reasons for such security-related shutdowns – but experts have said the move was to ensure that government controls the war narrative plus to disrupt communication lines of “opponents.”

Despite not being opponents, the media became one of the most adversely impacted by the communications blackout. People outside of the region could also not connect with family and friends trapped in the region. 

In a recent Reuters report, the script read in part: “Claims from all sides are difficult to verify since phone and internet links to the region have been down…” Several journalists have had to depend on diplomatic sources and other means to report incidents.

Most analysts have stressed the impact of unverifiable information. In which instance people peddle fake news along with its attendant dangers. Local and international watchers have tasked the government to lift the outage.

“Cutting off communication has severely hampered the ability to monitor the situation on the ground, particularly the impact of the clashes in the local population,” UN human rights head Michelle Bachelet said in a November 6 statement.

Bachelet asked Addis Ababa to “re-establish all basic services, including Internet and telephone connections.” Adding that “the right of all people to be informed and to access information is particularly vital in a crisis situation”.

Conclusion

But authorities in Ethiopia are not alone in seeking to unilaterally combat fake news, over in Nigeria, the Army has recently appropriated unto itself busting fake news on social media. 

In the aftermath of the deadly toll booth shooting in Lagos amid the #EndSars protests, the Army stamped “fake news” labels on social media posts alleging their complicity in the incident.

Restricting the internet as done by Addis Ababa was to achieve an end – be it security or information control. Going a step further to fact check reports underlines the importance of combating unverified/fake news.

The writer, Abdul Rahman Shaban Alfa, is a 2020 Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion fellow. He is a digital journalist who writes on major digital rights trends across Africa.  

Review: Digital pledges in 2020 manifesto of Ghana ruling party.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Internet Freedom

Ghanaians will be voting in December 2020 in general elections. The keenly watched poll is a re-election bid for the two main candidates. Incumbent Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and former President John Dramani Mahama. The winner will be serving their second and final term as president of one of Africa’s most stable democracies. The vote is the eighth consecutive since the return to multi-party democracy in 1992.

Important as electioneering campaigns and messaging are, they afford both parties and other contenders the opportunity to sell their political agenda. As a 2020 Paradigm Initiative digital rights fellow, this writer zones in on the digital pledges in the manifesto of the ruling New Patriotic Party, NPP. This follows a first part that tracked the same in the main opposition National Democratic Congress, NDC’s; manifesto.

Setting tone for digital take-off

The NPP touts their achievements so far in the digital landscape and continues in the document to address areas they will consolidate and or introduce in the next term if they win the polls.

The word “digital” appears a total of 64 times in different contexts throughout the 216-page document dubbed “Leadership of Service: Protecting our Progress, Transforming Ghana for All.”

The first mention of the word digital is in the message from the president and flagbearer of the party which read in part: “We have embraced digital technology in the delivery of public services …”

In Part 5 of the document titled: Accelerating Growth and Transformation; the NPP dedicates an entire chapter to Digitisation and the Transformation of the Ghanaian Economy. Specifically, it zoned in on the digitization journey and plans to build a digital services economy and to create a leading sub-regional digital hub.

Touting digital strides from 2016 – 2020 

The government summarized its digital development areas as follows: improve the delivery of public service, formalize the economy, improve revenue mobilization, deepen and broaden inclusiveness in the development process, and curb bribery and corruption.

The Akufo-Addo-led government has since 2016 rolled out a number of digital processes in the delivery of government services. Some of the notable ones being the 2018 digital address system, digital driver’s license, and vehicle registration.

Others are the digitized process of obtaining building permits, reforms for court administration, and incremental development of the Ghana.gov portal as a one-stop-shop for digital payment and revenue mobilization.

In the education sector especially, the government also touted its efforts in digitizing libraries stating thus: “Through the Ghana Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), we provided students living with disability in selected tertiary institutions with assistive technology-enabled devices and training to promote their digital inclusion.”

Digitizing the health insurance system was also the other plank highlighted. The Digital Hub under which the Accra Digital Center falls is an area of innovation and enterprise for young developers that government promises to boost.

Plan, promises, and projects for 2020 – 2024

“Over the next four years, we will leverage on our existing digital infrastructure and make the necessary investments and policies to establish Ghana firmly as the digital services hub of West Africa,” the manifesto said.

In concrete terms, the NPP government promised to among others:

* Put in place generation of connected market infrastructure on which government and the economy can function.

* Rationalise the functions of bodies in the technology ecosystem and to streamline the legal and regulatory frameworks.

* Update Ghana’s spectrum policy and regulations to promote greater transparency, the competitive and rapid expansion of internet services to rural areas.

* Establish a national data center that centralizes all digital information and data storage, management, and protection.

* Increase broadband coverage, affordability of digital devices and explore innovations to ensure the visually impaired are not left out of the ongoing digital revolution plus increasing access and affordability of digital devices.

* Invest in human capital to build digital skills base, by continuing investments in teaching ICT from primary school.

* Undertake processes aimed at reducing the cost of data in Ghana. A gigabyte of data as of 2020 costs $0.94, making Ghana the country with the sixth cheapest rate in Africa.

* Other areas of interest include reduction of taxes on digital devices, lowering of the spectrum and license costs.

Digital investment makes a significant showing in the concluding chapter under the heading of “Transformation for a Ghana Beyond Aid,” the relevant portions read thus: “The coronavirus pandemic has reaffirmed our vision of building a Ghana Beyond Aid…

“… one of the pillars of which is to build a resilient economy with the financial strength to fund public services, and to ensure a strong Ghanaian presence and capacity across the supply and services value chains of all the major sectors.”

The cyberspace plans are largely limited, only reporting of successes in the first tenure. The government mentioned the setting up of the Computer Emergency Response Team with the National Communications Authority and also training police on cybersecurity.

Conclusion

The digital space clearly is of increasing interest to major political stakeholders in Ghana. Like the NDC, the incumbent party has given lots of space to the potential and game-changing impact of digital processes on general national life.

As reiterated by experts in the digital ecosystem, civil society and the media will be key in keeping successive governments in check to deliver on promises especially relative to legislation on digital rights and data protection.

“Civil society must track these promises and push politicians to implement as many of them as possible,” a digital rights activist told this writer.

As crucial as the digital space is, one wonders how many Ghanaians will vote on digital rights and other digital inclusion grounds.

Whiles at it, parties and candidates are busily using social media to sell their messages to the many Ghanaians with a presence on and offline. Game on, may the best party win.

 

The writer, Abdul Rahman Shaban Alfa, is a 2020 Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion fellow. He is a digital journalist who writes on major digital rights trends across Africa.  

PIN’s Executive Director, ‘Gbenga Sesan, Makes a Strong Statement at TED Salon on Fairness and Our Future.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, ICTs

The TED Salon: Fairness and Our Future, a virtual program in partnership with UNDP, touches on how we ensure that tomorrow is better than today, not just for ourselves but also for future generations and the entire planet. Discussion on this program was led by four speakers from diverse sectors, Sarah Brosnan a primatologist, Angela Mahecha Adrar a climate justice leader, Achim Steiner a sustainability champion, and ‘Gbenga Sesan tech inclusionist and Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative.

“Inequality must be seen as the global epidemic that it is,” says tech inclusionist ‘Gbenga Sesan. He speaks at TED Salon: Fairness and Our Future, in partnership with the UNDP, on December 9, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

‘Gbenga Sesan explains “We must eradicate inequality by giving everybody fair access to technology”. Centuries of inequality can’t simply be solved with gadgets — we need to supply training and resources that fully level the playing field, says ‘Gbenga Sesan. He started the Paradigm Initiative, to help those in his native Nigeria learn how to use technology in a way that sustains their hopes and dreams and ultimately leads to greater development for the entire African continent. In creating systemic solutions for tackling the inequality that 40 percent of the world experiences Sesan seeks to create lasting fairness for all by offering the opportunities, support, and equal advantages for the next generations to succeed.

Get the complete insight of the program, courtesy TED by clicking on this LINK

 

HIGHLIGHTING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFRICA.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights

In a bit to understand the role of artificial intelligence in our daily life and activities, Paradigm Initiative and Women on the Table organized a webinar on Wednesday, December 8th, 2020, bringing together resource persons and actors in the domain of artificial intelligence and digital rights to exchange on the stakes and implication within our communities. 

The speakers included Belona Sonna an Associate Data Engineer at ALTREZE, and entrepreneur, a researcher currently working on revolutionalizing the healthcare industry ethically, and Chennai Chair Research Manager, Gender and Digital Rights at World Wide Web Foundation, a researcher with a focus on building evidence for pro-poor and public interest digital policy who currently exploring digital innovation and its impact on Africa’s social and economic growth as well as digital rights from a feminist perspective.

 

Belona Sonna an Associate Data Engineer at ALTREZE

 

Chennai Chair Research Manager, Gender and Digital Rights at World Wide Web Foundation

Moderating the session was Gbenga Sesan Paradigm Initiative’s Executive Director who set the pace for the session by introducing the panelists and immediately introduced a poll to allow participants to share their knowledge on the subject matter.

According to Belona “AI is an important topic to be discussed alongside human rights, because AI has become part of our life, as it has been adopted in most sectors, like healthcare, education, and there are concerns that have been raised about Ethical issues, and privacy violation” while Chennai stressed that “there is a tendency for new technology to have a proliferated life existence where it then shapes every aspect of our lives, whether it is from the public sector, private sector or us as individuals trying to find solutions to the problems we face on the continent. Then one might be tempted to say that technology is neutral, it is not embedded in context, and it exists on its own. But the true reality is that everything that we interact with, whether it be in technology form, or analog form, actually shapes our lives and experiences.

Though the session was characterized by questions and answers, it ended with mind-blowing recommendations by the guest speakers. Belona on her part recommended ethics before development saying “Don’t be in a hurry to use AI. Take time to ensure that the proposed AI model will respect rules and our lives, and respect us as Africans” and Chennai Chair concluded that “There is a need for civil society to be involved with a collaborative model. We cannot do it on our own, and we can’t do it with the traditional institutions that have been doing it for a very long time. Also, to move away from centering the technology, but to center the experience of people. Once we have got these two, we can solve the procurement and ethics issue”

Gbenga Sesan the moderator in his final remark, concluded the session by acknowledging the contribution of the panelist and audience members. He said that the next steps should be to engage in ongoing work in the areas of AI and Human rights,  and noted that Paradigm Initiative has developed a computer-based system called AYETA a digital right toolkit to promote digital rights and data protection awareness and policy in Africa. He thanked all the participants for their support.

Tanzanians Vote Amidst Unprecedented Internet Disruption

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Internet Freedom

It is not an overstatement to say that if there is any word that most Tanzanians are coming into contact with — or forced to use — for the first time then is VPN or virtual private network, a technology that gives internet users online privacy and anonymity. Thanks to the ongoing heavy restriction on the use of the internet by Tanzanian authorities during the general election, most Tanzanians, both technologically savvy and ignorant, struggle to download VPN and install it on their mobile devices so that they can be able to access various social media platforms whose use Tanzania has reportedly restricted.

Restrictions

News on the likely restriction on the use of social media first came to light on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, as various people, especially on social media, reported to have had difficulty accessing the platforms. NetBlocks, an international non-governmental organization that monitors cybersecurity and the governance of the Internet, confirmed what it called “widespread disruption to social media and online communication platforms” via multiple internet providers as of Tuesday.

NeBlocks’ analysis revealed that real-time metrics showed that Twitter, WhatsApp, backend servers for Instagram, and some Google services, including Gmail and Translate were generally or partially. This was true for any user of Tanzania’s leading network operators like Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo, Halotel, and Zantel. While other social media companies are yet to comment on the situation, Twitter said Tuesday that it had observed “some blocking and throttling” of the platform. In a statement, Twitter said: “Internet shutdowns are hugely harmful, and violate basic human rights and the principles of the [open internet.] The government is yet to comment on the matter as of the time of writing this. Nor are the network operator who has been on the receiving end of various inquiries and even accusations from their customers. Many of them, however, acknowledged experiencing “network issues,” promising to work on it.


The restriction on the use of the internet came hardly three days after another development was reported by users of Tanzania’s largest mobile network operators Vodacom Tanzania and Airtel Tanzania preventing users from sending mobile text messages which carried the name of some of the opposition presidential candidate Tundu Lissu and Maalim Seif Sharif to their contacts. The move by Vodacom and Airtel came two days after Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) wrote to telecoms ordering them to temporarily suspend bulk short messaging services (SMS) and bulk voice calls from October 24 to November 11, 2020. TCRA’s director-general said in the letter which was addressed to Viettel Tanzania PLC which trades as Halotel that the move was aimed at curbing the “adverse impacts” of the services during general elections.

Keep It On

Back in August 2020, some digital rights activists in the country were already worried that the government might restrict the use of the internet ahead of the 2020 general election. This is so despite the fact that Tanzania does not have legislation that gives the government power to shut down the internet, according to a Lagos-based digital rights advocacy group Paradigm Initiative (PIN). Still, the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2020 give the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) power to order service providers to block or filter content if the TCRA deems such content is prohibited, the digital rights organization, quoted a human rights lawyer Daniel Marari as saying. Mr. Marari told Paradigm Initiative then:

“The way it works is that the law allows TCRA to delegate censorship powers and powers of content removal to service providers. It can direct service providers, or internet service providers, to filter and block access to certain services/websites or remove certain content. If they don’t comply, they risk sanctions. [This is] an indirect way of blocking access to online content or services.”

It was the fear of restriction on the use of the internet experienced right now that moved Ms. Zaituni Njovu and her colleagues at Zaina Foundation, a local organization that champions digital rights and inclusion, to adopt and launch the #KeepItOnTZ in Tanzania to make sure that the government does not shut the internet down as it can have unspeakable effects on people’s participation in the upcoming election.

Access Now, a global digital rights organization, criticized what is currently happening in Tanzania, saying it stiles people’s fundamental rights and freedoms. “Telecom service providers operating in Tanzania have a responsibility to respect the human rights of Tanzanians, and must take all possible measures to prevent and mitigate government attempts to censor millions,” said the organization in its October 27 statement. “[We] invite the international community to join the call: telecommunications companies must resist Magufuli-government censorship requests, and allow people to freely and securely access communication platforms throughout the election period and thereafter.”

BY Khalifa Said Rashid, Paradigm Initiative Media Fellow 

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