Digital Rights

Kill Switch: Will Tanzania #KeepItOn during the upcoming election?

By | Digital Rights, Internet Freedom

Dar es Salaam. Digital rights activists in Tanzania are concerned that as the country heads to a general election later this year, on October 28, the government may opt to restrict the use of the internet, especially social media, and thus risk the violation of basic rights of its people like the freedom of expression.  

Social networks, mainly Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram, have become popular discussion forums where Tanzanians, within the country and abroad, make use of them to share their opinions on various issues including how the country is being and holding the government to account.  

It is expected that more than at any other time in the history of Tanzania’s politics, social media will play a significant role in the upcoming elections, something that has made digital rights activists and other stakeholders in the country to be worried that the government may choose to limit that role by taking measures seen taken by other governments across Africa: shutting down the internet. 

Tanzania does not have a legislation that gives the government power to shut down the internet. However, 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 a content is prohibited, says a human rights lawyer Daniel Marari during an interview recently.  

“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 being penalised,” says Mr Marari, adding: “[This is] an indirect way of blocking access to online content or services.”

This fact raises concern to many people working on the ground on issues of digital safety and inclusion like Ms Zaituni Njovu, the Executive Director with Zaina Foundation, an organization that advocates for digital security and privacy. In an exclusive interview with us which took place at her office in Dar es Salaam earlier this month, Njovu, 30, thinks the government possibility to shutdown the internet is “very high” given the indicators already seen on the ground. 

“The indicators include the restriction on people’s freedom of expression and violation of a slew of other digital rights freedoms,” says Njovu. “More than once we have heard government officials complaining that social media are being used to spread ‘fake news.’ The government may not shut down the internet altogether as this will also affect them but it can shut the social media down.”  

It is within this context that the campaign #KeepItOnTZ was launched 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. (Asked for his comment on how founded he thinks these concerns by digital rights activists are, TCRA director general James Kilaba chose not to comment). The following are the excerpts of the interview with Ms Njovu: 

Qn: First of all thanks for granting us this opportunity to speak with you on the digital rights landscape in Tanzania. Maybe, very briefly, and on behalf of our readers, can you explain what Zaina Foundation is and what was it founded for? 

Ans: Zaina Foundation was officially launched in 2017 in Arusha [Northern Tanzania] but moved to Dar es Salaam in 2019. We mainly work with women groups, especially journalists, on how they can ensure their safety while online, and we have so far carried out several projects to that effect. 

We also carry out several campaigns on digital rights because, really, Tanzania faces many challenges in that area. As part of our campaigns, we do translate into Kiswahili several tools and contents which aim at improving a person’s safety on the internet for we figured out that if many tools and content remain in foreign language it makes difficult for people to appreciate their values and uses. So far we have been able to make Signal application to be available in Kiswahili for Android users.  

Qn: You mentioned that when it comes to digital rights and freedoms there are many challenges that face Tanzania. Do you mind expounding on that and tell us what exactly are these challenges? 

Ans: Honestly, Tanzania doesn’t fare well in the area of people’s digital rights and freedoms. People’s freedom of expression and participation online is very low in Tanzania compared with other countries. There are two actors to be blamed for their responsibility in that. First, are the government’s authorities that have been denying people their rights either through rhetorical threats or the enactment of laws and regulations that violate those rights. 

The second actor is the internet service providers, or cellular networks, which restrict people’s online participation by charging exorbitant fees to internet users in the country. The cost of internet bundles in Tanzania is very high. (A technology think tank, Research ICT Africa, however, names Tanzania to have the cheapest internet charges in East Africa, followed by Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda). But even when someone forces themselves to buy those bundles the bundles fail to work as it was advertised. You may be told that a particular bundle lasts one week but expires in less than one hour and you don’t even know how that happened. And you don’t even have any place to ask if that happens.     

There is also another issue. You can afford the cost of internet bundles and it may last as it was advertised but the internet can be very slow to the extent that you are unable to do your work online. All these contribute to limit people’s rights and freedoms while online. These challenges and others discourage people from exercising their rights online and have contributed to the current situation now observed in Tanzania.

Qn: The government, through the TCRA, recently released the Electronic and Postal Communications (SIM Card Registration) Regulations, 2020 which directed, among other things, a person is not allowed to possess more than one SIM card which caused much confusion among mobile phone users. What do you think really happened and what’s your take on that move? 

Ans: Basically the government wants everyone to have one SIM card. This is wrong and unacceptable in so many ways but but important of all is that it violates people’s freedom of communication. Because if I can afford having five SIM cards, why shouldn’t I? 

Qn: What do you think motivated the government to pursue that course? 

Njovu: There is something called surveillance and censorship. Currently, this is a major problem in the country: being surveilled everytime so that you can be censored. Tanzania introduced biometric mandatory SIM card registration the main purpose being to be able to survey its people. Because this is the goal, it becomes easy to accomplish it if everyone uses one SIM card.

The government itself defends the move by saying that it helps curb crime, and it is true that cybercrime is rife and there are cases of being scammed through mobile phones. But this doesn’t refute the fact that surveillance violates our rights and freedoms, both as citizens and human beings. 

Qn:Do you believe the government when it claims that the reason why it surveils and censors its people is because it wants to curb crime? 

Ans: No, I don’t. It is true that one of the advantages [of surveillance] is curbing crime. But you have to know that there is the issue of privacy too. When you surveil someone [in their communications] it becomes a violation of their privacy. I’m supposed to have my own privacy and my communications should be all mine and there should be no one to interfere with them.

Qn: In an environment like this, how do you assess Tanzanians’ awareness of their digital rights and freedoms? 

Ans: Awareness is very low. This is due to the fact that the issue of online security has got very few stakeholders in Tanzania who advocate for it and demand safer and secure digital experience. We at Zaina Foundation partner with actors mainly from Kenya and Uganda because we are very few in Tanzania, almost none. What is needed now is to work in raising the level of awareness in our people and cultivate their interests in these issues. 

Qn: As far as the issue of digital rights and freedoms is concerned, what Tanzania would you like to see in the period of ten years from now? 

Ans: Actually it is not ten years to come, but right now we as an organization want Tanzania whose people are free and safe while using the internet. We want to reach a stage when one is being accused of spreading ‘fake news’ another person should come forward to correct him/her or he/she should be told to correct it and not put him/her behind bars. The government, Internet Services Providers (ISPs) and Civil Societies Organizations (CSOs), and society in general, as important stakeholders in ensuring this, have a unique and significant role to play in turning Tanzania into a safer and freer country to internet users. 

The author of this article, Khalifa Said, is a Paradigm Paradigm Initiative 2020 Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellow. He is a freelance investigative journalist based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and he formerly worked at The Citizen and Mwananchi newspapers. 

Tanzania Digital Rights and Freedoms Bill takes shape

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Internet Freedom, Press Release

Digital rights social enterprise, Paradigm Initiative, has concluded a two-day coalition workshop that brought together civil society groups, lawyers, bloggers, journalists, members of the academia in the United Republic of Tanzania. The two-day event took place at Holiday Inn in Dar es Salaam with the Tanzania participants coming together to discuss the state of digital rights in Tanzania with support from Paradigm Initiative that joined the meeting virtually. The workshop culminated in the drafting of a Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, 2020 for Tanzania. It is hoped that this Bill, inspired by Nigeria’s Digital Rights and Freedoms Bill, will be embraced by the Tanzanian parliament and regulatory authorities after the elections in 2020 and subsequently enacted into law.

It is noteworthy that the Bill presents liberal and progressive proposals which, if enacted into law, will definitely safeguard the digital rights and freedoms of all Tanzanians. The Bill seeks to fill the lacuna that exists in the current legal and institutional framework for digital rights protection in Tanzania and to offer more robust protection. Undoubtedly, it will not only be an auxiliary legislation to the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA) and the Cyber-Crimes Act but also reinforce the existing internet-use regulations.

Paradigm Initiative Senior Program Manager, Adeboye Adegoke says the organisation hopes to keep the discussion going especially with other relevant stakeholders from Tanzania and with the Tanzanian government agencies such as the TCRA. “ The next step in the process is the sustained engagement of all relevant stakeholders in Tanzania, including the government to ensure that the bill that will be presented to the parliament represents the views of the people of Tanzanians”, Adeboye concluded.

Malawi decides: Assessing the risk of an internet shutdown

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Internet Freedom

On Tuesday 23rd June 2020 Malawi went to the polls in a historic presidential re-run. The southern African nation shocked the continent and set precedence when the constitutional court overturned the May 2019 general election outcome and ordered a rerun due to apparent widespread vote-rigging.

On May 21st, 2019, Malawians went to cast their ballots, with the hope of a free and fair election devoid of all forms of violence and election malpractice. Almost ten candidates including the sitting president Peter Mutharika, who was standing for his second and final term, heavily contested the election.

While ballots were cast in a peaceful and uneventful manner, the aftermath of the elections left a mark for the people of Malawi. Three days into the voter counting, the opposition reported over 147 cases of ballot irregularities to the Malawi Electoral Commission and result sheets were found to have been tampered with, with some sections blotted out and altered with a correction fluid popularly known as Tippex.

News of the irregularities sparked protests in some opposition strongholds, however, the court lifted the injunction and the electoral commission confirmed President Mutharika’s narrow victory.

With 39% % of the votes in his favour, incumbent President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progress Party was declared the winner, beating his close opponents Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party and Saulos Chilima of United Transformation Movement who won 35% and 20% of the votes respectively. As of 2019, Malawi utilised the winner takes all system. President Mutharika refused to ratify the electoral reforms passed by Parliament, which would allow the majority vote to win (50% plus 1 system).

Meanwhile, the opposition runner up Lazarus Chakwera maintained that his party would not accept the fraudulent election outcome and subsequently petitioned the Constitutional Court. In 2019, Malawi was marred with unprecedented protest action by citizens, ranging from small and spontaneous unrests to large and organised demonstrations. Between May 2019 and July 2019, several protesters were killed and millions of dollars’ worth of property damage. The demonstrators demanded that President Peter Mutharika concedes defeat and the Electoral Commissions head, Jane Ansah, resigns for allegedly presiding over a ‘rigged poll.’

In February 2020, the Constitutional Court of Malawi finally delivered the landmark verdict by declaring the results of the election null, adding that they had not met the standards of a free and fair election, and called for fresh elections within 150 days, a move that was welcomed by many Malawians. The electoral commission was also charged with failing to uphold its constitutional responsibilities. The verdict, which was later validated by the Supreme Court, illustrated the growing independence of the Judiciary in Malawi.

Although an election postponement was looming, Malawians were bent on voting on June 23, 2020, regardless of the COVID 19 virus and rumours of delayed ballot papers that threatened to have the election date shifted even further. Some CSO groups and opposition party representatives went as far as monitoring the plane in real-time that was transporting the ballot papers to Lilongwe. In addition, the group gathered at the airport to monitor the arrival of the ballot papers.

While Malawi may have fared well in setting democratic precedence, the country reported declining respect for digital rights in 2019. The May 2019 elections saw a series of warning statements issued by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), aimed at internet users over the use of online and social media tools during the election period. A partial internet shutdown was also recorded shortly after the polls closed, the disruption lasted several hours on the evening of May 21st, 2019.

Such deciding moments provide a perfect cover for digital right violations to occur, perpetrated by those seeking to silence loud and dissenting voices online. Paradigm Initiative continues to monitor the situation in Malawi for any digital rights implications that may arise during the 2020 election rerun.

Policy Brief: Contextualizing the use of mobile data for COVID-19 surveillance in Nigeria

By | Digital Rights, ICT Policy

Lagos, Nigeria. – [June 17, 2020] – Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise that advocates for digital rights and inclusion in Africa has released a Policy brief on Policy responses to the covid-19 Pandemic. 

The Policy brief titled, ‘’Contextualizing the use of mobile data for COVID-19 surveillance in Nigeria through the lens of legality, necessity and proportionality’’ analyzes the reported plans by the Nigerian government in cooperation with MTN the country’s largest telecommunications company to use mobile subscribers data in the aid of contact tracing for the coronavirus disease spread. 

Adeboye Adegoke, Program Manager Digital Rights at Paradigm Initiative, ‘’In light of the rapid spread of the coronavirus around the world, many governments adopted mobile technology enabled contact tracing in a bid to stem the disease spread. In the rush to implement these measures to stem the spread of the virus, human rights considerations were not uppermost in the mind of policy makers across the world’’.

Adeboro Odunlami, Legal Officer Paradigm Initiative added, ‘’The international human rights principles of legality, proportionality and legality are benchmarks with which we can assess whether certain steps taken by entities meet minimum human rights standards and are based on human rights considerations. Having assessed Nigeria’s proposed mobile contact tracing plans based on these principles, we clearly see that these plans were hatched without properly weighing these international human rights standards.

According to Bulanda Nkhowani, Program Officer Digital Rights, Southern Africa Paradigm Initiative, ‘’Indeed, this rush to implement mobile contact tracing without a conscious and deliberate effort to safeguard human rights is not unique to Nigeria. We see this trend replicated across Africa. This period presents a unique opportunity for organizations working on digital rights to remind the world that digital rights are indeed human rights. Policies and actions of government which have the capacity to limit human rights must be accessed according to the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality, and must also have the requisite oversight at the appropriate levels of government to forestall abuse’’.

<<<Download the Policy Brief here>>> 

 About Paradigm Initiative

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. The organization’s digital inclusion programs include a digital readiness school for young people living in under-served communities (LIFE) and a software engineering school targeting high potential young Nigerians (Dufuna). Both programs have a deliberate focus to ensure equal participation for women and girls. The digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in Africa, with offices in Abuja, Nigeria (covering the Anglophone West Africa region); Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa); Nairobi, Kenya (East Africa) and Lusaka, Zambia (Southern Africa). Paradigm Initiative has worked in communities across Nigeria since 2007, and across Africa from 2017, building experience, community trust and an organizational culture that positions us as a leading social enterprise in ICT for Development and Digital Rights on the continent. Paradigm Initiative is also the convener of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), a pan-African bilingual Forum that has held annually since 2013. 

For any inquiries about this press release, please send an email


Paradigm Initiative announces 2020 Digital Rights and Inclusion Media fellows

By | Digital Rights, Internet Freedom, Press Release

Ghana, Accra. – [June 4, 2020] – Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise that advocates for digital rights and inclusion in Africa has announced the selection of  four African journalists for the third edition of its Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship. The media fellowship attracted 430 applications from 30 countries in 2020. 

“The Digital Rights and Inclusion Fellowship continues to set the standard in skill development for African journalists. Our Fellows exhibit exceedingly high standards of commitment to digital rights and digital inclusion reporting in their countries – encapsulating the spirit of Paradigm Initiative,” said Emmanuel Vitus, Paradigm Initiative’s Communications Officer and manager of the fellowship.

Speaking on the development, Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Rights Program Officer for Southern Africa and member of the Fellowship Program Selection Committee, Bulanda Nkhowani said, “This year’s application pool is among the largest received and we continue to be inspired by the high-calibre candidates that the program attracts.”

“We are excited about the quality of applications the fellowship attracted in its third year despite the current challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bulanda said.

Each year since its inaugural fellowship in 2018, Paradigm Initiative selects a group of diverse and accomplished journalists from a competitive applicant pool to partake in the fellowship program, a 5-month intensive  embedded learning experience. So far 4 journalists from Ghana, Nigeria and Lesotho have benefited from this robust and transformative experience.

 This year’s cohort includes four journalists from 3 countries:

  • Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa, Digital Journalist at  Africanews, Republic of Congo
  • Khalifa Said, Bilingual freelance journalist based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Sinatou Saka,  Journalist & Editorial Project Manager at Radio France International, France
  • Abisola  Olasupo, Multimedia journalist at  The Guardian newspaper, Nigeria 

 This class of 2020 fellows will convene for the first time on June 9, 2020 for an orientation webinar, where they will participate in orientation and training sessions conducted by the Paradigm Initiative leadership team. The orientation will be followed by executive training programs and online collaboration with Paradigm Initiative offices in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Each fellow will be tasked to write stories about digital rights and digital inclusion, and also eligible for a legacy in-depth reporting project  that will leverage the skills they learned to inform their audience.

 About the 2020 Fellows:

Abisola Olasupo is a Multimedia Journalist currently working with The Guardian Nigeria. As a journalist, she has written news, politics, features and lifestyle articles which have been published on The Guardian website and newspaper. Apart from writing articles, she is a seasoned scriptwriter, producer and presenter for Guardian TV. Abisola has presented and produced reports, shows and documentaries on Guardian’s digital TV channels. She has keen interest in Nigeria, Africa and global affairs. Abisola loves telling human interest stories and also exploring new cultures when she travels. Abisola has also attended training and workshops which have shaped her two years of working as a digital journalist. Abisola holds a B.A. in English from University of Ibadan.

Abdur Rahman Shaban Alfa, is a digital journalist with Africanews – a bilingual pan-African channel operating from Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo. Born and grew up in Accra, Ghana, Shaban dreamed of being a radio journalist till he eventually landed in print journalism after graduating from the Ghana Institute of Journalism. He worked with a private newspaper, the New Crusading GUIDE, before transiting to documentary filmmaking for five years. Shaban landed in online journalism five years ago and has since gone on to consolidate his expertise in what is a fast-paced and challenging but thrilling journalism space. With his current role as the Head of English Digital at Africanews, Shaban enjoys coverage that features an engaging mix of hard news, sports, business, technology and lifestyle content from an African perspective. He is  tech savvy and a social media enthusiast.  

 Sinatou Saka is a Beninese journalist and editorial project manager at Radio France Internationale. She is the coordinator of the RFI Challenge App Afrique project, a digital innovation competition whose objective is to promote the emergence of the smart city in Africa through the development of mobile applications or any other digital service that improves the quality of urban services or reduces their costs. Sinatou Saka is the founder of  Idémi, a platform that promotes and helps create digital media in African languages on the web. Sinatou Saka began her career at ORTB, the Beninese state-run radio and television, before leading the digital transformation of the country’s state news agency. Before joining RFI in France, Sinatou worked as Editor-in-chief of the France-based magazine Afrikarchi.

 Khalifa Said is a bilingual freelance journalist based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He has built himself a reputation in the country’s media landscape pursuing stories that many consider risky given Tanzania’s political situation, all for the sake of holding the government accountable.  Said is a graduate of  Tumanini University College in Dar es Salaam with a B.A degree in Mass Communications.  Said worked for The Citizen, Tanzania’s leading English newspaper, for three years both as a feature and political reporter where he had the opportunity to familiarize himself with the country’s inner workings of its political as well as social and economic systems. Said has written extensively on Tanzania’s political development as well as providing countless feature stories as assigned by my senior covering issues of citizenship, politics, good governance, digital rights, human rights, and sometimes even global and regional political affairs. Said’s works have also appeared in major and regional publications like The Elephant and Africa is a Country, where he has chronicled Tanzania’s developments especially in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

About the Digital Rights and Inclusion Fellowship

 The Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Digital Inclusion Media Fellowship seeks to embed media professionals within the daily work of Paradigm Initiative in the fields of digital rights and digital inclusion in Africa. The fellowship seeks to expose media professionals to an underreported field of work in national/regional developments and hopes to increase reporting on digital rights and inclusion in Africa. The fellowship is designed to immerse outstanding mid-career journalists in digital rights and digital inclusion advocacy, and intervention efforts – in Africa.

 About Paradigm Initiative

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. The organization’s digital inclusion programs include a digital readiness school for young people living in under-served communities (LIFE) and a software engineering school targeting high potential young Nigerians (Dufuna). Both programs have a deliberate focus to ensure equal participation for women and girls.  The digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in Africa, with offices in Abuja, Nigeria (covering the Anglophone West Africa region); Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa); Nairobi, Kenya (East Africa) and Lusaka, Zambia (Southern Africa). Paradigm Initiative has worked in communities across Nigeria since 2007, and across Africa from 2017, building experience, community trust and an organizational culture that positions us as a leading social enterprise in ICT for Development and Digital Rights on the continent.

Paradigm Initiative is also the convener of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), a pan-African bilingual Forum that has held annually since 2013.  

For any inquiries about this press release, please send an email

Nigeria: What’s A Democracy Without Free Speech?

By | Digital Rights, Internet Freedom, Press Release

As far back as 2016, the Paradigm Initiative has been vocal against two provisions in the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act. We have argued at Trial, Appellate and now the Supreme Court that Sections 38 and 24 of the Act serve as legal backing for oppressive actions. 

Section 24 of the Act states that: 

Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that…he knows to be false for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another…commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment. 

This above notorious provision has fueled the fire of oppression by political leaders against journalists, bloggers and common citizens who dare to communicate dissenting opinions or controversial opinions. 

It must be known that Freedom of Expression also encapsulates the freedom to communicate dissenting, controversial, difficult and even annoying opinions. However, since the Cybercrime Act was passed, the law has been used by politicians and the wealthy to harass and intimidate  citizens who voice dissent or criticism.

It came to our notice over the Eid-al-Fitr holiday that journalist, Rotimi Jolayemi, has become yet another victim of this draconian law. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, using his political influence ordered the arrest of the journalist’s wife (locked up for 8 days), and two brothers (locked up for 9 & 2 days respectively) before the journalist turned himself in to the police. 

The Journalist has now been charged for Cyberstalking; ‘for causing annoyance, insult, hatred and ill will to go to the current Hon. Minister of Information and Culture, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohamed.’

Whether or not the poem rendered by the journalist was critical of the Minister, it is universally agreed that a nation that would practice Democracy must welcome criticism. In fact, criticism, no matter how crude and hurtful, must be anticipated and even welcomed by public officers in a democracy. What is a democratic nation, if public leaders cannot take feedback and criticism from the people they serve? What is a democratic nation, if laws are enacted to criminalize free speech? What is a democratic nation, if the people’s representatives, punish the people for speaking? 

We use this opportunity to shine light on a similar case; the case of Human Rights Activist, Gabriel Ogbonna who was arrested and detained over an alleged false publication (on Facebook) against the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, and charged with conspiracy and Cyber Terrorism. This highly politically motivated arrest, subsequent detention and irrational charge reveals the endemic oppression that has plagued Law Enforcement and is being fueled by the Cybercrime Act against Nigerian citizens. 

It is known that as an Organization, we wholeheartedly condemn the criminalization of free speech by the government. And now, we condemn the action by the Nigerian Police Force in these instances, not only being used as a tool of oppression but also carrying our unlawful arrests and detentions in the process. 

Before our eyes, the ethos of integrity and respect for human beings is rapidly deteriorating in Nigeria; proxy arrests are being carried out and innocent people locked up just to lure a suspect to present himself. Furthermore, the law is turning a blind eye to these atrocities and our government has chosen only to serve the rich. Worse still, the country is creating an environment that frowns against dissent, criticism and free speech. 

Paradigm Initiative hereby condemns the unlawful actions of the Police with regard to arrests and detention in the Rotimi Jolayemi case and the Gabriel Ogbonna case and calls on those involved to recognize the danger of these actions to the collective wellbeing of the country and desist forthwith. We also condemn the use of state resources and institutions such as the DSS and the Police to settle personal grouse, massage bruised ego, and oppress vulnerable citizens. 

Digital Rights: How Francophone Africa is bracing for COVID-19’s impact?

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Internet Freedom

The entire world has recorded more than 5.3 million confirmed cases of Covid-19; 2.12 million cases cured and 342 thousand deaths as of May 22, 2020. Francophone Africa countries are also affected in large numbers by the pandemic. In May 2020, this part of the continent experienced a growth in cases of infected people with an increase in the number of deaths, despite the preventive measures initiated by various countries. 

At the start of the pandemic in Africa, in February 2020, measures to fight against Covid-19 displayed a real indirect strategy of digital rights violations by certain governments. However, in certain countries, measures contributing to the desire to improve the conditions of use of digital, necessary for the respect of digital rights have been observed.

The context of digital rights in Francophone Africa is particular even in times of crisis. Cases of violation of digital rights during electoral periods or post-electoral crises are a reminder of the behavior of governments in the management of digital rights in crisis times. The Covid-19 period is therefore not clearly different. Several governments have displayed a face of non-respect of digital rights, but also of the desire to exploit the digital divide for socio-political purposes. Other countries having become aware of the consequences of non-compliance with digital rights, have expressed some progress, notably Gabon,Togo and the DRC, amongst others

In general, the appearance of Covid-19 has urged governments to take a series of  measures against the pandemic with human rights impacts in some cases. The standard of living in the region does not allow populations in confinement and is almost inactive to benefit from quality of digital services.

From Cameroon to Rwanda, or from Morocco to Burundi, certain governments with the assistance of mobile telephone operators have reduced the prices of Internet, and strengthened the stability and confidence of the network.

Cases of human rights violations on the Internet are reflected in some countries by cases of indirect arrests of people, mass control and surveillance of populations, fragmented management of personal data, instability of the Internet and the poor quality of the internet connection with some operators was recorded at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, notably in Cameroon, Algeria and Morocco amongst others

Mixed situation in Cameroon

At the start of the crisis, the mobile operators: Camtel, Orange and MTN have announced support measures during the confinement period. Camtel, a public telecommunications company, has made an attractive offer, but not free, for Internet connection prices for 150 GB at around 20 USD per month. Operators Mtn and Orange have meanwhile lowered the prices of mobile financial transactions.

On the other hand, the Covid-19 period was impacted by the rise of fake news on the Covid-19 and on the country’s political situation in social media, prompting the authorities to initiate actions against some internet users. In April 2020, a letter from the office of the President of the Republic gave instructions to the Director of the National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ANTIC) in order to track all the accounts spreading false information and fake news on platforms like Facebook by using technological means

Also in the context of actions to fight against the pandemic, the opposition political party, Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) through its President, Maurice Kamto had initiated fundraising actions to support some needy Cameroonians affected by the crisis. The Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, had considered this action illegal by sending correspondence to the Directors General of MTN and Orange requesting the closure of the Mobile Money and Orange Money accounts intended for this fundraising effort. The organizers of this operation considered the disruption of their accounts as a manifest violation of their rights related to digital online payment services.

Covid-19 and management of personal data

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In February and March, especially in Cameroon and other countries in the region, passengers from foreign countries suspected of carrying the virus saw their data and identities on the internet, but also on social media. Several cases of deaths have been identified as carriers of Covid-19 before being sometimes denied by the family or relatives. During this period of crisis, the families and relatives of Covid-19 patients fear the disclosure of their status on social media, which can accentuate the stigma.

The use of personal data is considered by certain countries in the world as an effective means of combating Covid-19. This opportunity for Africa could cause more problems than solutions in a context where few countries have a law on the protection of personal data. Rasha Abdul Rahim, Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech, on this trend in the use of personal data says that ” Technology can play an important role in the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, however, this does not give for as much carte blanche to governments to extend digital surveillance. Recent history shows us that governments are reluctant to give up temporary surveillance powers, and we must not allow ourselves to be dragged into a state of permanent widespread surveillance . ”

Morocco: arrests for fake news

Third Case of Coronavirus in Egypt of an Egyptian Returning From ...

In early March 2020, the video of two Moroccans who were shooting hoaxes in the street by announcing to people that they had been contaminated abroad by Covid-19 “to see their reactions” were arrested in Marrakech. The police authorities had already announced in the same period the arrest of a resident of Tetouan (north) who had announced in a video on social media to “register dead people linked to the virus”. On Thursday March 19, a bill n° 22.20 relating to the use of social networks and similar channels in the country was adopted and presented by the Minister of Justice, and was not long in being applied in Morocco. The government in several press releases had reported that “All legal provisions will be taken (…) to identify the persons involved in the publication of these allegations and lies”.

Algeria: an example?

Kuwait's total coronavirus cases rise to 61 – Middle East Monitor

Algeria is considered to be one of the countries that provided a rapid and positive response during the Covid-19 period for the development of digital infrastructure in the country and the improvement of online confidence. During the Council of Ministers on March 22, 2020, Algeria made the decision to accelerate its digital transformation through the “Digital Transition Initiative”. Tunisian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said the current situation is “also an opportunity for us to realize the vulnerability of our national economy, due to our neglect for decades to free it from oil rent”.

The Algerian Modernization Initiative applies on several levels: the protection of personal data based on Law No. 18-07 of June 10, 2018, the digitization of the central administration, documents and administrative forms, the generalization of databases based on the national identification number (NIN), the creation of a control panel for decision-making and monitoring of government projects. The Initiative also includes the modernization of the government’s Internet network to ensure liaison between the departments. The project also offers several practical measures, including a digital service platform for citizens.

Covid-19 and e-learning

Tablets Transform Lives of Young Refugees in Sub-Saharan Africa

According to UNESCO, the digital divide  is particularly marked in low-income countries: in sub-Saharan Africa, over 89% of learners do not have access to home computers and 82% do not have access to the Internet. About 56 million learners live in places not served by mobile networks, almost half of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Online training for learners in confinement in the Francophone part of Africa is a constraint which presents the reality of the disparity in the development of telecommunications infrastructures and therefore of violation of the digital rights of various Africans, unable to benefit from the digital online training services. The lack of quality infrastructure during the Covid-19 era is one aspect that accentuates disparity, the digital divide and violations of digital rights. 

Countries like Rwanda, Egypt and many others who have invested seriously in digitalization over the years, today serve as examples in terms of the fruits they derive from digital in these hours of global health crisis. For the moment, the practices which contribute to the respect of digital rights from the particular case to the general is important. 

The author of this article, Rigobert Kenmogne is Paradigm Initiative Digital rights program officer  in Francophone Africa

Impact du Covid-19 sur les droits numériques en Afrique Francophone

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Internet Freedom

Le monde d’entier a enregistré plus de 5,3 millions de cas confirmés du coronavirus (Covid-19) avec 2,12 millions de cas guéris et 342 000 décès au 24 mai 2020. Les pays d’Afrique sont aussi touchés par la pandémie sur le continent africain. Au mois de mai 2020, cette partie du continent a connu une croissance des cas de personnes contaminées avec une augmentation du nombre de morts, malgré les mesures barrières initiées par différents pays. La particularité de la crise sanitaire dans cette région du continent ayant enregistré diverses violations des droits l’homme en ligne ces dernières années est remarquable.

Au début de la pandémie en Afrique, en février 2020, des mesures de lutte contre le Covid-19 ont affiché une réelle stratégie indirecte de violation des droits numériques par certains gouvernements. Néanmoins dans certains pays, des mesures contribuant à la volonté d’améliorer les conditions d’utilisation du numérique, nécessaires pour le respect des droits numériques ont été observées.

Le contexte des droits numériques en Afrique francophone est particulier même en temps de crise. Les cas de violation des droits numériques lors des périodes électorales ou des crises post-électorales rappellent le comportement des gouvernants dans la gestion des droits numériques en période de crise. La période du Covid-19 n’est donc pas manifestement différente. Plusieurs gouvernements ont affiché un visage de non-respect des droits numériques, mais aussi de la volonté d’instrumentalisation de la fracture numérique à des fins socio-politiques. D’autres pays ayant pris conscience des conséquences du non-respect des droits numériques, ont exprimé quelques avancées, notamment le Gabon, l’Algérie, le Togo, la RDC…

De manière générale, l’apparition du Covid-19 a poussé les gouvernements à prendre un ensemble de mesures barrières contre la pandémie avec des impacts les droits humains dans certains cas. Le niveau de vie dans la région ne permet pas aux populations en confinement et presque inactives de bénéficier des services digitaux de qualité.

Du Cameroun au Rwanda, ou du Maroc au Burundi, certains gouvernements avec le concours des opérateurs de téléphonie mobile ont allégé la connexion du réseau Internet par la réduction des prix de connexion, en renforçant la stabilité et la confiance du réseau.

Des cas de figure de violations des droits humains sur Internet se traduisent dans certains pays par des cas d’arrestations indirectes des personnes, le contrôle de masse et la surveillance des populations, la gestion parcellaire des données personnelles, l’instabilité du réseau Internet et la mauvaise qualité de la connexion Internet chez certains opérateurs ont été enregistrées au début de la pandémie du Covid-19 notamment au Cameroun, en Algérie, au Maroc…

Situation mitigée au Cameroun

Face au Covid-19, le Nigeria reste l'un des pays les mieux ...Au début de la crise, les opérateurs de téléphonie mobile : Camtel, Orange et MTN ont annoncé des mesures d’accompagnement en période de confinement. La Camtel, entreprise publique de télécommunication, a fait une offre alléchante, mais pas gratuite pour les prix de connexion Internet pour 150 Go à environ 20 USD le mois. Les opérateurs Mtn et Orange ont quant à eux, ont baissé les prix des transactions financières mobiles.

De l’autre côté, la période du Covid-19 a été impactée par la montée des fake news sur le Covid-19 et sur la situation politique du pays dans les réseaux sociaux, poussant les autorités à initier des actions contre certains utilisateurs Internet. Au mois d’avril 2020, un courrier du cabinet du Président de la République donnait des instructions au Directeur de l’Agence Nationale des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (ANTIC) afin de traquer par des moyens technologiques tous les comptes qui diffusent les fausses informations et fake news sur les plateformes comme Facebook.

Aussi dans le cadre des actions de luttes contre la pandémie, le parti politique de l’opposition, Mouvement pour la Renaissance du Cameroun (MRC) à travers son président, Maurice Kamto avait initié des actions de collecte de fonds afin soutenir les nécessiteux en période de crise. Le ministre de l’Administration Territoriale, Paul Atanga Nji, avait considéré cette action comme illégale en adressant des correspondances aux Directeurs généraux de MTN et Orange demandant la fermeture des comptes Mobile Money et Orange Money destinés aux collectes des fonds. Les organisateurs de cette opération de collecte ont considéré la suspension de leurs comptes comme une violation manifeste de leurs droits liés aux services digitaux de paiement en ligne.

Covid-19 et gestion des données personnelles

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Au début de la crise sanitaire, et notamment au Cameroun et dans d’autres pays de la région, les passagers venus des pays étrangers et soupçonnés d’être porteurs du virus ont vu leurs données et identités sur Internet, mais aussi sur les réseaux sociaux. Plusieurs cas de morts ont été identifiés comme porteurs de Covid-19 avant d’être parfois démentis par la famille ou les proches. Durant cette période de crise, les familles et les proches des malades du Covid-19 craignent la divulgation de leur statut sur les réseaux sociaux, ce qui peut accentuer la stigmatisation.

L’utilisation des données personnelles est considérée par certains pays dans le monde comme un moyen efficace de lutter contre le Covid-19. Cette opportunité pour l’Afrique pourrait causer plus de problèmes que de solutions dans un contexte où peu de pays ont une loi sur la protection des données personnelles. Rasha Abdul Rahim, directrice adjointe d’Amnesty Tech, sur cette tendance de l’utilisation des données personnelles déclare que « la technologie peut jouer un rôle important dans le combat mondial contre la pandémie de Covid-19, cependant, cela ne donne pas pour autant carte blanche aux gouvernements pour étendre la surveillance numérique. L’histoire récente nous montre que les gouvernements sont réticents à renoncer aux pouvoirs de surveillance temporaires, et nous ne devons pas nous laisser entraîner sans réagir dans un état de surveillance généralisée permanent ».

Maroc : les arrestations pour fake news

Covid-19 : Augmentation du nombre des victimes au Maroc, en ...

En début du mois de mars 2020, deux Marocains qui tournaient des vidéos canulars dans la rue en annonçant à des passants avoir été contaminés à l’étranger par le Covid-19 « pour voir leurs réactions » ont été arrêtées à Marrakech. La direction de la police avait déjà annoncé dans la même période l’interpellation d’un habitant de Tetouan (nord) qui avait annoncé dans une vidéo avoir « enregistrer des personnes mortes liées au virus ». Le jeudi 19 mars, un projet de loi n° 22.20 relatif à l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux et canaux similaires dans le pays a été adopté et présenté par le ministre de la Justice, et n’a pas tardé pour être appliqué au Maroc. Le gouvernement dans plusieurs communiqués avait signalé que « toutes les dispositions légales seraient prises (…) en vue d’identifier les personnes impliquées dans la publication de ces allégations et mensonges ».

Algérie : un cas d’exemple ?

Adoption de la chloroquine en Algérie : Les explications du ...

L’Algérie est considérée comme l’un des pays ayant apporté une réponse rapide et positive en période du Covid-19 pour le développement des infrastructures du numérique dans le pays et l’amélioration de la confiance en ligne. Lors du Conseil des ministres du 22 mars 2020, l’Algérie a pris la décision, d’accélérer sa transformation numérique à travers « l’Initiative de transition numérique ». Le président tunisien, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a indiqué que la situation actuelle est « également une occasion pour nous de prendre conscience de la vulnérabilité de notre économie nationale, en raison de notre négligence pendant des décennies à la libérer de la rente pétrolière ».

L’Initiative de la modernisation algérienne s’applique à plusieurs niveaux : la protection des données à caractère personnel basée sur la loi n° 18-07 du 10 juin 2018, la numérisation de l’administration centrale, des documents et des formulaires administratifs, la généralisation des bases de données sur la base du numéro d’identification national (NIN), la création d’un tableau de commande pour la prise de décisions et le suivi des projets gouvernementaux. L’Initiative intègre aussi la modernisation du réseau Internet gouvernemental pour assurer la liaison entre les ministères. Le projet propose également plusieurs mesures pratiques, dont une plateforme de services numériques pour les citoyens.

Covid-19 et e-learning

Radio Learning for Kids Schools Closed COVID-19 - GlobalGiving

Selon l’UNESCO, les disparités sont particulièrement marquées dans les pays à faible revenu : en Afrique subsaharienne, plus 89 % des apprenants n’ont pas accès aux ordinateurs familiaux et 82 % n’ont pas accès à l’Internet. Environ 56 millions d’apprenants vivent en des lieux non desservis par les réseaux mobiles, dont près de la moitié en Afrique subsaharienne. Les formations en ligne pour les apprenants en confinement dans la partie francophone d’Afrique est une contrainte qui présente le visage de la disparité dans le développement des infrastructures de télécommunications et donc de violation des droits numériques de divers plusieurs Africains, incapables de bénéficier des services digitaux de formation en ligne. Le manque d’infrastructure de qualité en période de Covid-19 est un aspect qui accentue la disparité, la fracture numérique et les violations des droits numériques.

Des pays comme le Rwanda, l’Égypte et bien d’autres qui ont investi sérieusement dans la numérisation au fil des années, servent aujourd’hui d’exemples au regard des fruits qu’ils tirent du numérique en ces heures de crise sanitaire mondiale. Il reste pour le moment de s’accentuant les pratiques qui concourent au respect des droits numériques du cas particulier au général.

L’auteur de cet article, Rigobert Kenmogne est responsable droits numériques en Afrique Francophone pour Paradigm Initiative



Why We Have Not Given Up on Processes: Making FOI Requests in Nigeria

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Internet Freedom

In the Civil Society space, it is almost trite to state that ‘Freedom of Information’ is an essential freedom. We advocate for the passage of laws that uphold this Freedom and after they are enacted we advocate for systems to ensure they are enforced. 

In Nigeria, the first phase of this advocacy journey was completed in 2011 when the President signed the Freedom of Information Bill into Law. It took years but we were grateful for its enactment.  We have also followed the journey of the Right to Information Bill in Ghana which was assented to by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on May 21 2019. 

While we celebrate the passage and assent of these laws, we are however expending time and resources focusing on putting the law to use. The thinking is that if a Freedom exists then we should be able to exercise it and if we can’t then we need to find out why. 

If you ever sent a Freedom of Information request to a public institution in Nigeria, the chances that you got a response to your request are dangerously low. Somehow it would seem that the freedom to access information exists only as a concept with no corresponding obligation on those who hold the information (to supply it). 

But indeed such obligation clearly exists in the very law that vests and affirms the right. As an Organization, we have sent a wide range of FOIs touching on our thematic focus and have had a range of experiences from multiple requests and from one Public Institution to another . However, despite disappointing realities such as the total ignoring of our requests sometimes, we still believe in the processes set down in the law and are always willing to  legally challenge such refusals. 

One of such scenarios presented itself in 2017 when we wrote a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Science and Technology regarding information on the building and launch of two of two new satellites by the National Administration of Space Research and Development Agency (NASDRA). We were interested in the intended use of the satellites and their specifications. 

It’s good to pause here to explain the rationale behind FOI Requests. We have found that many regard the request for information as a criticism of work or disagreement with policy, but that’s not necessarily true . At the heart of the FOI requests we send, is a genuine inquiry into facts. As we all know, fake news and the spread of false information have attempted to devalue the quality of public discourse and knowledge. So, when we ask public institutions clear questions, we are attempting to elicit the right information from the right sources. 

That said, our request to the Ministry of Science and Technology was not granted. As many Civil Society Organizations will attest to, this is not a strange ‘reaction’ from a public institution. For us however, the fact that this reaction was anticipated did not make it acceptable. 

Section 20 of the Freedom of Information Act clearly provides that any applicant who has been denied access to information to apply to the Court for a review of the matter within 30 days after the public institution denies the application. So we took advantage of that provision and approached the court seeking for a declaration that the failure and/or refusal of the Respondents to disclose or make available to the applicants the information amounts to a violation of the applicants’ right of access. We also sought for a Declaration that the failure and/or refusal of the Respondents to disclose information amounts to wrongful denial of access to information and finally prayed the court for an order of mandamus compelling the respondent to disclose the specifications of the two new satellites and the details of their intended use.

We argued our case and so did the Ministry. Particularly, the Ministry argued that since the information was not under their supervision, it was impracticable for them to supply it. They also argued that the Agency (NASDRA) had no immediate plan to build and launch new satellites. This argument, though simple, revealed something profound to us. If the Ministry had simply responded to our FOI request with the information that the Agency had no immediate plans to build and launch new satellites, we doubt that we would have had to resort to the Courts. We wondered (and still wonder) if we could conclude that the Nigerian public institution would rather answer to the courts than to the citizens.  

The Court reviewed our arguments vis-a-vis applicable laws and reiterated that Section 7 of the Act gives us the right of access to the court to compel the release of the information. The court also pointed out that the law allows the original public institution to transfer the request for information to another agency which it believes has the information that is being requested from it. 

Finally, the court granted all our reliefs and ordered that the Respondents grant the request sought and where they are not in possession of the information requested, they should explain so in a letter and anchor their explanations under legally stipulated exemptions. We were also awarded the cost of N100,000 in our favour. 

This was yet another interesting reveal where we saw the balance of the scale of justice  leaning towards rights and affirming the responsibilities that have to be carried out  in order for those rights to be effectively exercised. 

Of course, we attempted to enforce this judgment but that has proven difficult in itself especially because the subject in focus is arguably moot. 

But we have gotten more from this case than a response to our letter might have given. We have tested the law and it worked, at least in this scenario. We have seen a court of competent jurisdiction hold a public institution accountable to the people it serves and we have strengthened our commitment to seeking, sharing and addressing public information from the proper sources.  This is why we have not given up on processes. 

The author of this article, Adeboro Odunlami is a Legal Officer at Paradigm Initiative


The CoronaVirus pandemic reminds us that Digital Rights are Human Rights

By | Digital Rights

On January 9, 2020, at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Annex building in Abuja, the Presidential Broadband Committee held another session to set an agenda for the provision of affordable and reliable broadband access for the over 190 million Nigerians. Together with input from the private sector, civil society and other professionals, their goal was to ensure that the gains of Nigeria’s Broadband Plan 2013 – 2018 were expanded upon in the new plan. Nigeria’s new Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 was published in March and set the agenda for the development of broadband infrastructure in Nigeria for the next five years.

Among the select organizations presenting evidence at the Broadband Committee’s session in January was Paradigm Initiative. A facet of our contribution focused on the need for accurate measurement of broadband access metrics in Nigeria. This is to ensure that reliable statistics on how many Nigerians really have access to broadband, and the quality of broadband quality of service, is captured. Our reasoning was that in Africa it is often the case that dodgy statistics are on display which paints far rosier pictures than the reality. Thankfully that was not the case with Nigeria.

Advocacy for affordable and quality broadband access is one of the major thrust of the work of Paradigm Initiative’s digital inclusion effort. Working out of digital inclusion training centres in Ajegunle Lagos, Aba, and Kano in Nigeria; and through research and policy advocacy in our Yaba Lagos and Abuja offices, we are always working to ensure that Nigerians reap the optimum benefits of connectivity to the digital. After all, that’s the mission of Paradigm Initiative, clearly stated on the organization’s website—‘’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“.

Yet many a time it is abundantly clear that even for those for whom advocacy organizations advocate for, the issues for which we tirelessly advocate for are unclear. Public interest advocacy can be a very lonely fight. For instance, during the course of Paradigm Initiative’s advocacy work, we have sometimes been termed ‘’busy-bodies“. Yet, as the world battles the COVID – 19 pandemic, the suffering and deprivation the global pandemic has foisted on the world perhaps presents in sharp relief why digital rights advocacy is so important. In fact, we need not look at the broad subject of digital rights in its entirety, we only need to examine broadband accessibility and affordability and its impact on education.

In Nigeria which already boasts over 10 million out-of-school children, the COVID – 19 pandemic has now ensured that even those who had access to schools have now been denied access to education because schools have been shut down to prevent the spread of the pandemic. And while children in the developed nations of the world might have the luxury of online connections to their classrooms because of well developed, standardized national broadband infrastructure which ensures that broadband is a commonplace utility which is readily available for low and middle-income households, in Nigeria only the financial elite can afford the data costs which guarantees that level of uninterrupted, seamless, quality access to classrooms in this pandemic. In the Nigerian context, we are not talking here of the capped data plans such as 1 Gigabyte, 2 Gigabytes or 5 Gigabytes of data. We’re probably talking about the unlimited data plans which allow unlimited streaming or at the very least the very large capped data plans (above 100Gigabytes) monthly.

I might go into details of Nigeria’s Gross National Income per Capita ($5710 at 2018), or extreme poverty rate (about 50%), here to buttress this. However, it could be enough to simply ask this question, ’’How many of you reading this article can conveniently fork out the approximately N20,000—N25,000 ($50—$62.50) per month to secure the unlimited data plans, or the higher capped data plans described above?”. In a country where many salaries hover around the N30,000 ($75) minimum wage, many will find such monthly data costs prohibitive. The reality is probably that millions of parents who have managed to put their children through school will personally homeschool them, with all the flaws and gaps that come with that. The children of the financial elite will come out of this pandemic several paces ahead.

So there it is. Digital rights advocacy, rather than being a very abstract thing, is laid very bare in our sights as it relates to the quality of educational experiences children will face during this lockdown. In the advocacy meetings, research, coalition building and other activities that organizations such as Paradigm Initiative does, this is the crux of the matter. Access, or the lack of it, to affordable and quality broadband will enhance or stunt human development and potential. We probably didn’t need a pandemic to tell us that.

The author, Babatunde Okunoye is Research Officer at Paradigm Initiative



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