Category

Press Release

Déclaration conjointe en réponse aux perturbations d’Internet en Guinée

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

Déclaration conjointe en réponse aux perturbations d’Internet en Guinée

3 Novembre 2020

[See English translation after this text in French…]

Nous, les organisations soussignées, sommes préoccupées par les perturbations d’Internet en Guinée. En effet, le 24 octobre 2020, les réseaux de télécommunications en Guinée ont subi de graves perturbations. Selon l’observatoire d’Internet NetBlocks, «des perturbations sont observées au niveau national dans le service internet en Guinée depuis 7h30 (GMT) le (23 octobre 2020 ndlr), y compris sur Orange, premier réseau de téléphonie mobile du pays. Cet incident semble conforme aux restrictions imposées par le passé et assignées aux organes de contrôle de l’État lors des élections.” a rapporté Netblocks. Aussi, les perturbations mentionnées concernent l’internet et les appels internationaux en général.

Le 24 Octobre 2020, l’opérateur Orange a envoyé un message à ses abonnés sur la situation en s’excusant. Dans un communiqué de presse daté du 25 Octobre 2020, l’opérateur Orange a ensuite informé ses abonnés qu’il a enregistré une coupure d’internet. Nous nous rendons compte que ce n’est pas la première fois que la Guinée enregistre des perturbations d’Internet en 2020. Le 19 Mars 2020, Orange, MTN et Cellcom Guinée  ont averti leurs utilisateurs qu’un arrêt d’internet se produirait à une durée déterminée les 21 et 22 Mars 2020 pour une intervention de maintenance d’Orange Marine, une filiale de l’opérateur télécoms Orange. Cette annonce de la fermeture d’Internet et des travaux intervenait lors du référendum dans le pays, et était manifestement nuisible pour l’accès Internet des abonnés. 

Internet est essentiel pour la protection des droits de l’homme. Il fournit une plate-forme pour accéder à l’information, permet de jouir de la liberté d’expression, de réunion et d’association, entre autres droits. De plus, pendant la période de la pandémie du COVID-19, Internet a permis de faire l’expérience de l’éducation, des affaires et des loisirs; un rappel clair de l’importance de la liberté sur Internet. Nous appelons le gouvernement guinéen et les fournisseurs de services Internet à respecter les droits des citoyens d’accéder à Internet. Les interruptions d’Internet sont inutiles lorsqu’il n’y a pas de cause légitime. 

Nous sommes également préoccupés par la perturbation d’Internet qui s’est produite dans le contexte d’une élection présidentielle. Certaines des conséquences négatives sont une violation de la liberté d’expression, l’accès à l’information, les droits démocratiques et l’interruption des activités commerciales avec des répercussions financières en dehors du champ d’application des instruments régionaux et internationaux auxquels la Guinée est partie prenante. 

Nous rappelons au gouvernement de Guinée ses obligations en vertu du Pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques et de la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples de respecter la liberté d’expression et l’accès à l’information. En outre, le Principe 38 (2) de la Déclaration de principes sur la liberté d’expression et l’accès à l’information en Afrique indique clairement que les États ne s’engagent ni ne tolèrent aucune interruption de l’accès à Internet et aux autres technologies numériques pour des segments du public ou une population entière. 

Nous interpellons le gouvernement guinéen sur les principes (2) de la Déclaration africaine sur les droits et libertés d’Internet qui stipule que l’accès à Internet doit être disponible et abordable pour toutes les personnes en Afrique sans discrimination pour quelque motif que ce soit comme la race, la couleur, le sexe, la langue, la religion, l’opinion politique ou autre, l’origine nationale ou sociale, la propriété, la naissance ou tout autre statut. La perturbation d’Internet a un impact important sur les groupes vulnérables tels que les femmes et les personnes handicapées (PH). Aussi, les effets de la fermeture d’Internet peuvent avoir des effets négatifs de grande portée sur la manière dont les femmes utilisent Internet par rapport aux hommes, l’accès des femmes aux programmes de développement, et sapent encore davantage le rôle des femmes dans la contribution au développement national.

Nous appelons le gouvernement guinéen à mener les actions suivantes:

  • Restaurer entièrement la connexion Internet, les accès aux plateformes de médias sociaux et d’assurer le respect des libertés fondamentales conformément aux meilleures pratiques. 
  • S’engager pour la stabilité de la connexion Internet sur tout le territoire national pendant et après le processus électoral afin qu’internet soit d’utiliser comme instrument de promotion de la démocratie en Guinée.

Signé:

  1. Centre de soutien juridique (Gambie)
  2. Give1Project Gambia 
  3. Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
  4. Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)
  5. Institut des TIC pour le développement (INTIC4DEV) Togo-Bénin-Sénégal
  6. BudgIT Foundation, Nigéria

Joint Statement In Response to the Internet Disruptions in Guinea

3 November 2020

We, the undersigned organisations are concerned about internet disruptions in Guinea. On October 24, 2020, telecommunications networks in Guinea experienced severe disruption. According to the internet observatory NetBlocks, “disruptions are observed at the national level in the internet service in Guinea since 7:30 am (GMT) on (October 23, 2020 editor’s note), including on Orange, the country’s leading mobile telephone network. This incident appears to be consistent with restrictions imposed in the past and assigned to state oversight bodies during elections.” As reported by Netblocks, the disturbances mentioned concern the internet and international calls in general.

On October 24, 2020, the operator Orange sent a message to its subscribers on the internet situation advising they were investigating the matter. In a press release dated on October 25, 2020, the operator then informed its subscribers that it was experiencing a shutdown. We realise that this was not the first time that Guinea was experiencing internet disruptions in 2020. On March 19, 2020, Orange, MTN and Cellcom Guinea  warned their users that an internet shutdown would occur at designated times on March 21 and 22, 2020 for a maintenance intervention by Orange Marine, the subsidiary of the telecoms operator Orange. This announcement of the closure of the internet and work occurring during the referendum was clearly untimely and detrimental to internet access of subscribers. 

The internet is critical for the protection of human rights. It provides a platform for accessing information, enjoyment of freedom of expression, assembly and association among other rights. Moreso, now during the COVID-19 pandemic, the internet has enabled education, business and leisure to be experienced, a clear reminder of the importance of internet freedom. We call on the government of Guinea and internet service providers to respect the rights of its citizenry to access the internet. Internet disruptions are unnecessary  where there is no legitimate cause.  We are further concerned by the internet disruption which occurred against the backdrop of a presidential election. Some of the  adverse consequences are a violation of freedom of expression, access to information, democratic rights and the interruption of business activities with financial repercussions outside the scope of the regional and international instruments to which Guinea is a party to. 

We remind the government of Guinea of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to uphold freedom of expression and access to information. Furthermore, Principle 38 (2) of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa clearly points out that  States shall not engage in or condone any disruption of access to the internet and other digital technologies for segments of the public or an entire population. 

We refer the government of Guinea to principles (2) of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms which states that access to the Internet should be available and affordable to all persons in Africa without discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.  Internet disruption highly impacts vulnerable groups such as women and persons with disabilities (PWDs). The effects of internet shutdown may have far-reaching negative effects on how women use the internet compared to men, women’s access to developmental programs, and further undermines the role of women in contributing to national development.

We call on  the government of Guinea to immediately do the following;

  • Fully restore internet connection and access to social media platforms and ensure respect for fundamental freedoms in accordance  with best practices. 
  • Commit to the stability of the internet connection throughout the national territory during and after the electoral process in order to use the Internet as an instrument for promoting democracy in Guinea.

Signed:

  1. Centre for Legal Support (Gambia)
  2. Give1Project Gambia 
  3. Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
  4. Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)
  5. Institut des TIC pour le développement (INTIC4DEV) Togo-Bénin-Sénégal
  6. BudgIT Foundation, Nigeria

Commemoration of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

By | Press Release

Commemoration of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

Press Release 2 November 2020

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) joins the world to commemorate International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. According to the UNESCO observatory of killed journalists in Africa, 145 journalists have been killed between 2010 and October 2020. Many more have been killed across the world. We condemn the inhuman and degrading treatment that journalists and media practitioners face globally and call for the respect for human dignity of all media practitioners.   

In the words of UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, when journalists are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price. Without the ability to protect journalists, our ability to remain informed and contribute to decision-making is severely hampered. Without journalists able to do their jobs in safety, we face the prospect of a world of confusion and disinformation. In a global analysis in Safety of Journalists, on average, every five days a journalist is killed for bringing information to the public. Attacks on media professionals are often perpetrated in non-conflict situations by organised crime groups, militia, security personnel, and even local police, making local journalists among the most vulnerable. These attacks include murder, abductions, harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest, and arbitrary detention.

It is most urgent that governments across the world take stock of their human rights record in relation to journalists, said Paradigm Initiative’s Community Manager, Thobekile Matimbe. Without journalists, there is no information for the world to get protection for human rights. Not only for the citizenry, governments need critical information on the lived experiences globally. It is time that journalists perform their mandate without fear of reprisals. Protection of journalists as they perform their duties offline and online is important to keep the truth alive. 

We call for the release of imprisoned journalists like Agnès Ndirubusa, Christine Kamikazi, Egide Harerimana and Térence Mpozenzi who were jailed on charges against state security for performing their mandate in Burundi, and the dropping of unwarranted charges against journalists like Hopewell Chin’ono in Zimbabwe. In a  report  by CPJ, there were 26 journalists in custody in Egypt as of 2019. In 2020, several journalists have been arrested since March over their reporting on coronavirus. Egyptian journalist Mohamed Monir died from complications due to COVID-19 contracted while he was held in pretrial detention. During the pandemic, it is most pertinent that unwarranted charges against journalists are dropped.

We remind African States to comply with their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and governing national constitutions in as far as they guarantee media freedoms.

We urge African States to follow the guidance in Principle 20 of the of the  Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, to guarantee the safety of journalists and media practitioners and to take effective legal and other measures to investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators of attacks against journalists and other media practitioners, and ensure that victims have access to effective remedies.

It is critical for governments to ensure that perpetrators of impunity against journalists are made to account.  We call for a safe and favorable environment enabling journalists to perform their mandate without fear or reprisals. 

Paradigm Initiative déplore la coupure d’internet en Guinée

By | Press Release

[Yaoundé, 26 Octobre 2020] –  Depuis le 24 octobre 2020 en Guinée, les réseaux de télécommunications ont connu de fortes perturbations. Selon l’observatoire internet de NetBlocks, « des perturbations au niveau national dans le service internet en Guinée depuis 07h30 (GMT) le (23 octobre 2020 ndlr), y compris sur Orange, premier réseau de téléphonie mobile du pays. Cet incident semble cohérent avec les restrictions imposées par le passé et attribuées aux organes de contrôle étatiques pendant les élections », a expliqué Alp Toker, le directeur exécutif de NetBlocks.  Selon les données fournies par Netblocks, les perturbations mentionnées concernent l’Internet et les appels internationaux en général.

Le 24 octobre 2020 l’opérateur Orange a adressé un message à ses abonnés sur la situation de l’internet: « Bonjour. Un incident a été constaté sur nos sorties à l’international impactant plusieurs de nos services. Des investigations sont en cours. Orange s’en excuse. » 

Dans un communiqué de presse du 25 octobre 2020, l’Opérateur « Orange informe son aimable clientèle qu’il assiste depuis à une coupure depuis 72 heures, sans aucun préavis de ses sorties à l’international au niveau de Guilab ».

A titre de rappel, le 19 mars 2020, Orange, MTN et Cellcom Guinée avaient prévenu leurs utilisateurs qu’une coupure du réseau internet allait intervenir de 1 heure du matin à 13 heures le 21 mars et de 1 heure à 9 heures le 22 mars  2020 pour une intervention de maintenance de Orange Marine, la filiale de l’opérateur télécoms Orange. Cette annonce de fermeture d’internet et de travaux intervenant en période du référendum contesté dans le pays. Ces travaux avaient été repoussés quelques jours avant la date butoir. 

Au regard du contexte socio-politique que traverse le pays, Paradigm Initiative se dit profondément préoccupée par la stabilité de l’Internet en Guinée, et invite le gouvernement, les opérateurs de téléphonie, les fournisseurs et toutes les parties prenantes de l’écosystème Internet à respecter les engagements vis-à-vis de la protection des droits des utilisateurs Déclaration Africaine des Droits et Libertés de l’Internet, déclaration africaine sur la gouvernance de l’Internet, et tous les autres principes du respect des droits de l’homme en ligne.

Paradigm Initiative est profondément préoccupée par la coupure d’Internet en pleine élection présidentielle. Cette coupure porte une grave atteinte à la liberté d’expression, l’accès à l’information et est une violation de tous les instruments nationaux et internationaux auxquels la Guinée est partie prenante notamment, la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples, la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme, le Pacte International relatif aux Droits Civils et Politiques et le Principe clé (2) et (4) de la Déclaration Africaine des Droits et Libertés de l’Internet ».

Les autorités guinéennes doivent rétablir immédiatement la connexion à Internet et l’accès aux plateformes de médias sociaux et veiller au respect de la liberté d’expression, d’association et d’opinion en ligne conformément aux normes internationales. 

Nous invitons également le gouvernement guinéen et tous les acteurs de la gouvernance de l’Internet en Guinée à plus de responsabilités et s’engager pour la stabilité de la connexion Internet sur l’ensemble du territoire national pendant et après le processus électoral afin d’utiliser Internet comme un instrument de promotion de la démocratie en Guinée.

Burundi: 65 organizations call for immediate release of Iwacu journalists

By | Press Release

On the first anniversary of their arrest, 65 organizations call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Iwacu journalists Agnès Ndirubusa, Christine Kamikazi, Egide Harerimana and Térence Mpozenzi who were convicted on charges against state security for simply doing their job. Their continued detention on baseless charges is a stark reminder that, despite a recent change in leadership, the Burundian government has little tolerance for independent journalism and free speech, the organizations said.

On 22 October 2019, the four journalists were arrested along with their driver Adolphe Masabarakiza as they went to report on clashes between the security forces and an armed group in Bubanza province. Although they had informed the provincial authorities of their plan to travel to the area, they were arrested on arrival and later accused of threatening internal state security. However, during the trial, the prosecution presented no evidence of the journalists having any contact with the armed group.

Although they were charged with complicity in threatening the internal security of the state, Ndirubusa, Kamikazi, Harerimana and Mpozenzi were ultimately convicted of attempting to commit the crime, a lesser criminal offense. Their lawyers say that they were not informed of the change to the charge prior to the verdict or allowed to defend themselves against it in court, violating fair trial standards. All four were sentenced to two and a half years in prison and fined one million Burundian francs (approximately 525 USD). Masabarakiza, who had been provisionally released in November 2019, was acquitted. Ndirubusa, Kamikazi, Harerimana and Mpozenzi appealed their conviction, but in its 4 June decision the Ntahangwa Court of Appeal upheld the verdict.

The message sent by the courts is an attempt to intimidate and threaten other journalists from doing their work and reporting on what is happening inside the country, the organizations said. The conviction and continued detention of the four journalists also runs counter to Burundi’s constitutional guarantees on freedom of expression, as well as regional and international obligations in accordance with Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is particularly inconsistent with the African Commission’s 2019 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, which specifically provides that states shall take measures to prevent “arbitrary arrest and detention” of journalists.

Iwacu is one of the few remaining independent media houses operational in Burundi. Hundreds of journalists and human rights defenders have fled the country since the start of the political crisis in 2015 and those still working in the country often face threats and harassment. Releasing Ndirubusa, Kamikazi, Harerimana and Mpozenzi would be an important first step towards reopening civic space and recognizing the contribution of reliable media reporting in ensuring access to information for all Burundians.

Signatories:

  1. ACAT-Burundi (Action des chrétiens pour l’abolition de la torture)
  2. Amnesty International
  3. ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa
  4. Association Burundaise pour la Protection des Droits Humains et des Personnes Détenues (APRODH)
  5. Association des journalistes indépendants du Bénin
  6. Bloggers Association of Kenya
  7. Burundi Human Rights Initiative
  8. Cellule Norbert Zongo pour le journalisme d’investigation en Afrique de l’Ouest
  9. Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy
  10. CNCD-11.11.11
  11. Coalition Burundaise des Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme
  12. Coalition Burundaise pour la Cour Pénale Internationale (CB-CPI)
  13. Coalition de la Société Civile pour le Monitoring Electoral (COSOME)
  14. Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
  15. Collectif des Avocats pour la défense des victimes de crimes de droit international commis au Burundi (CAVIB)
  16. Committee to Protect Journalists
  17. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization-CEPO, South Sudan
  18. Congress of African Journalists
  19. Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations (CEHRO)
  20. Defend Defenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  21. Eastern Africa Journalists Network (EAJN)
  22. European Network for Central Africa (EurAc)
  23. Fédération internationale des ACAT (FIACAT)
  24. Federation of African Journalists (FAJ)
  25. Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ)
  26. FIDH, in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  27. Forum pour la Conscience et le Développement (FOCODE)
  28. Forum pour le Renforcement de la Société Civile (FORSC)
  29. The Ghanaian PEN Centre
  30. Human Rights Network for Journalists- Uganda
  31. Human Rights Watch
  32. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  33. Kenya Correspondents Association
  34. Kenya Editors’ Guild
  35. Kenya Union of Journalists
  36. Laws and Rights Awareness Initiative (LRAI)
  37. Ligue Burundaise des droits de l’homme Iteka
  38. Ligue des journalistes Tchadiens (LJT)
  39. La Maison de la presse du Niger
  40. Media Council of Tanzania
  41. Media Institute of Southern Africa
  42. Mouvement des Femmes et Filles pour la Paix et la Sécurité au Burundi (MFFPS)
  43. Mouvement Inamahoro Femmes & Filles pour la Paix & la Securite
  44. National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Uganda
  45. Observatoire de la lutte contre la corruption et les malversations économiques (OLUCOME)
  46. Ökumenisches Netz Zentralafrika (ÖNZ)
  47. One Day Seyoum
  48. OpenNet Africa
  49. Organisation Patronale des Médias du Gabon (OPAM)
  50. Paradigm Initiative
  51. PEN International
  52. PEN Nigeria
  53. PEN South Africa
  54. PEN Zimbabwe
  55. Reporters sans Frontières (RSF)
  56. Réseau des Citoyens Probes (RCP)
  57. SOS-Torture/Burundi
  58. Syndicat National des Journalistes Indépendants du Togo (SYNJIT)
  59. Syndicat Professionnels Information Communication Sénégal (Synpics)
  60. Tournons la Page – Burundi
  61. Tournons la Page International
  62. TRIAL International
  63. Ugandan PEN
  64. Union Burundaise des Journalistes
  65. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

[Coalition Open Letter] As Nigeria protests, the government must uphold connectivity

By | Press Release

As civil unrest flares across Nigeria, it is imperative that President Muhammadu Buhari ensures stable, open access to the internet and digital communication channels throughout the nation. Thousands of people are taking to the streets, demanding the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) face justice for their alleged brutality — amidst a wider call for government reform — and now, more than ever, upholding the safety of protestors should be the government’s main priority.

“The internet is helping protestors coordinate, while bringing global attention to the issues on the ground,” said Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative. “We have witnessed people attacked by sponsored thugs, and the killings of unarmed protesters at the Lekki tollgate, allegedly by the Nigerian Army — all through images and video clips shared in real-time via social media. This evidence can be used to investigate and prosecute crimes against peaceful protestors and the Nigerian State, while helping the government demonstrate its commitment to the reforms it promised. Keeping the internet on at this crucial time is the only way for the government to show transparency and sincerity of purpose as it fights to win back citizens’ confidence.”

“Shutting down the internet while thousands of Nigerians are protesting against police brutality would be incredibly dangerous, and we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to help ensure sparks don’t turn into flames,” said Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner and #KeepItOn Lead at Access Now. “Governments cannot allow their agents to operate with impunity. Stable, open and secure internet helps ensure people can document, communicate, access information, and hold elected officials and law enforcement to account.”

Paradigm Initiative, Access Now, Internet Sans Frontiere and fifty other organizations are appealing to the government to:

  • Ensure that the internet, including social media and other digital communication platforms, remains open, accessible, and secure across the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
  • Publicly assure the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that the internet and all social media platforms will be on, and to notify the public of any disruptions;
  • Order the ISPs operating in the country to provide quality, secure, free, and open internet and inform internet users of any disruptions and work around the clock to fix any identified disruptions likely to impact the quality of service they receive; and
  • Ensure the security of protesters and that they will not be surveilled and profiled for retribution.

Read the open letter.

Call for applications to the 4th Edition of the Paradigm Initiative (PIN) Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship

By | #PINternetFreedom, Advocacy, Digital Rights, DigitalJobs, DRIF, DRIMF, ICTs, Internet Freedom, Press Release

Fellowship period: 1 March 2021 – 30 June 2021

Application Period: 21 October 2020 to 12 November 2020

The application process is now open for the 4th edition of the Paradigm Initiative (PIN) Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship (DRIMF). Through academic and practical learnings, Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Digital Inclusion Media Fellowship 2021 seeks to embed media professionals within the digital ecosystem. Media Fellows will connect with PIN teams in Cameroon (Yaoundé), Ghana (Accra), Kenya (Nairobi), Nigeria (Aba, Abuja, Kano and Lagos), Zambia (Lusaka) and Zimbabwe (Bulawayo).

The fellowship seeks to expose media professionals to an underreported field of work at national and regional level, increasing reporting on digital rights and inclusion in Africa. Selected media professionals must be affiliated to media institutions within Africa and available to commence the fellowship from 1 March 2021 to 30 June 2021, to connect and collaborate mostly virtually, and where applicable, be present for in-person activities.

Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship is a 4-month program designed to immerse outstanding early career journalists in the digital ecosystem. Selected media professionals will work with Paradigm Initiative on various projects and contribute to improving public understanding of digital rights and inclusion issues in Africa. Applications are open to journalists working in Africa.

Components of the fellowship

  • Online Digital Rights/Inclusion academic training.
  • Interaction with PIN team members within Africa.
  • 4-month virtual mentorship and collaboration with Paradigm Initiative.
  • Fellowship may include fully-funded local and international travel to participate in and cover relevant events related to Digital Rights and Inclusion.
  • A monthly stipend and a one-time research grant during the fellowship period.
  • Paradigm will pair fellows with in-country mentors for the time of the fellowship who will meet the fellows at least twice during the fellowship.

Expectations

Fellows will dedicate a minimum of ten hours a week to fellowship-related activities. Each Fellow will be expected to participate in all scheduled activities and to publish, in their affiliated media (Print, TV, Radio, Online), at least 4 features/reports on digital rights and inclusion issues during the fellowship period. Fellows will retain full editorial direction on the stories that they publish in their affiliated media. In addition, each fellow will produce a research paper on a relevant topic with the guidance of the PIN Team of not more than 1500 words which will be published by PIN. Fellows will be expected to continue to provide coverage on digital rights and inclusion issues after their fellowship.

Requirements

The Fellowship is open to early career journalists with not more than 8 years’ experience in the media sector and affiliated with mainstream print and online newspapers in Africa. Interested candidates must have a relevant undergraduate degree and demonstrate previous coverage of human rights and/or tech issues and interest in advancing digital rights and inclusion.

How to apply

Kindly complete the form here

Call for applications to Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab (DRILL) Fellowship

By | DigitalJobs, L.I.F.E., Press Release

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) welcomes applications for its Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab (DRILL). The successful applicants will work full time with Paradigm Initiative team members for 9 months starting from 1 March 2021 to 31 November 2021. As a mid-career fellowship, potential candidates will be expected to have had a minimum of 5 years’ experience as technology or social innovators, researchers, policy experts, and/or entrepreneurs. Fellows must have a relevant postgraduate qualification, be exceptional individuals who will bring new learnings and innovations as well as gain exposure to the digital ecosystem.

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. Our 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).

Through DRILL, PIN seeks to host innovative learning around digital rights and inclusion in Africa, and serve as a space for enhanced capacity, practice and reflection aimed to involve and connect different stakeholders and create dialogue amongst researchers, social innovators, policymakers and actors, the private sector, as well as civil society. 

Fellows’ Responsibilities 

Applicants will be required to briefly discuss their intended focus for the fellowship period during the application process. Paradigm Initiative will expect to receive a cutting edge project proposal that will benefit from the exposure to the African digital rights and inclusion community. If your proposal is big, innovative and addressing a real issue in the digital ecosystem, we look forward to reviewing your submission. 

The successful fellows will be expected to work full time within any of the PIN offices. 

  • The successful fellows will propose and work on an innovative project which will be completed during the fellowship ( i.e cutting edge research/technology-centric project that seeks to address digital rights or digital inclusion issues in Africa)
  • The fellows will be expected to host monthly ecosystem/sector meetings with the PIN Team to engage the ecosystem on critical issues arising or existing.
  • The fellows will conduct biweekly presentations and prepare content to share with the PIN team on their project and to feature a monthly DRILL podcast to be recorded with the PIN Executive Director. 
  • Each Fellow will have the opportunity to host a Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) – Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab in April 2021. 
  • The last month of the fellowship will feature a final meeting, final presentation and final podcasts from the selected fellows. 

There will be a closing event with PIN’s leadership team to reflect on what has been achieved in the fellowship month period and to award the Fellow with certification for completion. The fellowship is open to potential fellows living within the following countries – Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Fellowship Benefits

  • PIN will provide a monthly stipend to the selected fellows which will cover participation in the Fellowship. 
  • PIN will provide a research project grant to support an approved project and budget. 
  • PIN will cover costs associated with activities at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Lab and provide an opportunity to be embedded within our team, access to the ecosystem and feedback on projects throughout the duration of the fellowship. 
  • A possible opportunity to travel to an international platform to showcase the finished project. 

Application and Timeline

This call for applications is open from 6 October 2020 until 30 October 2020. The selection process will be finalised in November  2020 with the fellow of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Lab expected to resume on 1 March 2021. Respond to the call by submitting the google form HERE

New African Digital Rights Coalition Aims to Hold Governments and Private Sector Accountable

By | Press Release

Today, civil society organisations join forces to establish, promote and protect digital rights across the African Continent.

A diverse group of nine digital rights organisations across the four cardinal points of the African continent today announced the formation of a coalition to advance digital rights in Africa – the African Internet Rights Alliance (AIRA). The announcement was made during the 2020 gathering of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa – FIFAfrica.

AIRA seeks to integrate evidence-based research, policy and legislative reform, multi-stakeholder advocacy and strategic litigation through joint efforts aimed at advancing affordability and access to the Internet, media freedom, privacy and data protection, access to information, freedoms of assembly, expression and media in Africa.

With more than half a billion Africans accessing the internet and using digital technologies, AIRA envisions an Africa where digital rights are ​upheld in all aspects of life, governance and the economy, ensuring equity and prosperity for all.

“AIRA was largely borne out of the need for movement building in campaigns for universal access and tackling inequalities and human rights challenges faced by Africans online, which are reflected offline. These challenges vary country by country, sub-region by sub-region and indeed, from one user to the next. However, norm setting requires a unified approach and platforms for collaborative learning and engagement – which AIRA seeks to do, in tandem with other pre-existing digital rights coalitions,” said CIPESA Executive Director Wairagala Wakabi.

AIRA members include ​Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa, BudgIT, the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT), Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), Legal Resource Centre (LRC), and Paradigm Initiative (PIN).

“The AIRA coalition is uniquely positioned to undertake value-based, collective interventions and executes strategic initiatives that engage the government, private sector, media and civil society to institute and safeguard digital rights. Instructively, one limb of our multi-faceted digital rights work encourages government to espouse our four values – accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance – as they roll out inevitable ​digital policies and action plans,” said ​KICTANet Convenor Grace Githaiga.

“AIRA members vocalise the needs and challenges of millions of individuals across ​Central, East, Southern and West Africa​, including individuals who remain disconnected from the digital sphere, those at risk of being disconnected, and those who are already connected, albeit poorly,” said ​Legal Resources Centre Legal Researcher Edwin Makwati.

“In the face of COVID-19, Internet shutdowns and stifling of dissent, digital rights across Africa are under threat more than ever before. AIRA is prepared to pool its experience and expertise to advance digital rights and well positioned to hold governments and the private sector accountable for any violation of those rights,” said Amnesty International Technology Advisor Kiggundu Mark.

“Together, we can do so much,” said Paradigm Initiative Executive Director ‘Gbenga Sesan. “We invite others to join us in the movement to establish, advance and protect digital rights for all on the African continent.”

About AIRA

The African Internet Rights Alliance (AIRA) undertakes collective interventions and executes strategic initiatives to promote privacy and data protection, affordability and access to the internet, access to information and freedoms of assembly, expression and the press. Learn more at AIRA.africa.

Contact:

Ashanut Okille

ashokille@akijul.org

256-772463077

https://aira.africa/

 

PIN commemorates International Day for Universal Access to Information

By | Press Release

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) joins the rest of the world to commemorate International Day for Universal Access to Information under the theme – Saving lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hope. This day is commemorated against the backdrop of a global COVID-19 pandemic that has seen many lose their lives. The rights to education and healthcare have been grossly affected by the pandemic which has unearthed the challenges African economies face with regards to digital infrastructure that is so pertinent in ensuring enjoyment of human rights. Furthermore, the pandemic has more emphatically buttressed the importance of the internet.  

In a UNESCO report on Socio-Economic And Cultural Impacts Of Covid-19 On Africa, 2020 it is reported that while many parts of the world have resorted to distance learning, leveraging the use of information and communications technologies, unfortunately in most parts of Africa, this is not a very viable option. The report also stresses the call for rethinking of priorities, in particular increasing investment in science, technology and innovation, moving into the future. This will contribute to viable healthcare systems  and bridge inequalities on the continent. 

According to a Statement by United Nations experts, governments must  provide truthful information about the nature of the threat posed by the coronavirus, refrain from blocking internet access, address disinformation by providing reliable information together with internet companies and  make exceptional efforts to protect the work of journalists.  It is regrettable that some governments continue to crackdown on journalists under the guise of COVID19 regulations. The mandate of media practitioners is most critical to ensure that communities receive adequate access to information. In advocating for access to information, PIN also calls for responsible reporting that ensures truthful information is disseminated in promotion of the right to health. 

The right to access information is provided in Article 9 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights as the right to receive information and echoed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights under article 19(2). We are in crucial moments where States must promote access to information and seek to develop information and communication technology.  

PIN reminds African states of  the provisions of  Principle 37 of the Declaration Of Principles On Freedom Of Expression And Access To Information In Africa  and calls for the following;

  • States to facilitate the rights to freedom of expression and access to information online and the means necessary to exercise these rights. 
  • States to recognise that universal, equitable, affordable and meaningful access to the internet is necessary for the realisation of freedom of expression, access to information and the exercise of other human rights.
  • States, in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders to ensure laws, policies and other measures provide universal, equitable, affordable and meaningful access to the internet without discrimination.
  • States shall take specific measures to ensure that marginalised groups have effective exercise of their rights online.
  • States to adopt laws, policies and other measures to promote affordable access to the internet for children that equips them with digital literacy skills for online education and safety.

 

PIN Hosts Webinar on Draft Bill on Data Protection, Launches Report on Digital Rights in Nigeria

By | Press Release

Pan-African Digital Rights and Inclusion organisation, Paradigm Initiative hosted a civil society webinar on Nigeria’s draft data protection bill and launched a new report on Digital Rights and Privacy in Nigeria.

The report which explores the state of digital rights and privacy in Nigeria details the political and policy environment, practices, and stakeholders around digital rights and privacy in Nigeria. Building on previous annual reports on Nigeria and Africa by Paradigm Initiative, the report recommends a review of certain regulations by Nigeria’s Communications Commission to include judicial and public accountability in order to address the potential for abuse and abuses occasioned by the politics of regime preservation. Other recommendations in the report include a call for the passage of the digital rights and freedom bill and the data protection bill, the repeal and re-enactment of the cybercrimes act 2015, and a public education campaign to raise the awareness of citizens on data protection.

While speaking on the report and the webinar, Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative said “Given the work that we do, part of our advocacy objectives is to ensure that the development of digital policy receives quality inputs from us. Our focus is clear in this regard; rights, inclusion, and innovation”. “We will advocate against draft legislation/policy that seeks to limit rights, stifle innovation or widen access gaps and we will support those who seek to promote access, rights, and innovation.”

The Chief Operating Officer at Paradigm Initiative, Nnenna Paul-Ugochukwu in her remarks recognised that PIN represents a lot of other voices within the civil society space and this explains why the webinar and the report launch were held together, to present the organisation’s research output and to capture the views of other civil society organisations in its submission to the Federal government on the draft data protection bill. 

For more information about this statement, please contact media@paradigmhq.org

Link to the report: https://paradigmhq.org/download/digital-rights-and-privacy-in-nigeria/

en_USEnglish
fr_FRFrench en_USEnglish