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Poste: Chargé  de Communication

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Introduction

Paradigm Initiative est une entreprise sociale qui  favorise l’inclusion numérique par les TICs et défend les droits numériques afin d’améliorer les moyens de subsistance des jeunes défavorisés. À travers  nos bureaux au Nigéria (Aba, Abuja, Ajegunle, Kano et Yaba), au Cameroun, au Togo, en Zambie et en Tanzanie. nous travaillons au renforcement des droits numériques et à l’inclusion numérique en Afrique. Un plan d’expansion vers d’autres pays est en cours.

Description du Poste

Recherche, rédaction, correction, publication et diffusion d’informations sur Paradigm Initiative. Les informations seront utilisées pour diffusion interne à l’intention des employés et externe  à l’intention des partenaires, bénévoles ou pour des publications à grand public. Coordonner et fournir des ressources aux médias pour le compte de Paradigm Initiative.

Lieu du poste

Nigeria, Zambie, Tanzanie, ou Togo

Rôles et responsabilités

 

  • Communication

 

  • Assurer la liaison avec les autres membres du personnel et de l’équipe afin de fournir un excellent contenu web à utiliser sur les réseaux sociaux de Paradigm Initiative.
  • Fournir des conseils ou des compétences spécifiques aux équipes pour renforcer les aspects média et communication de tous nos programmes.
  • Gérer les supports  et réseaux numériques, à travers les programmes et les régions
  • S’associer à des développeurs Web pour concevoir et mettre en œuvre des solutions Web efficaces afin de favoriser les communications internes et externes.
  • Surveiller les installations Internet et Web.
  • Gérer les contacts avec les nouveaux médias dans toutes les régions.
  • Élaborer des stratégies de communication pour les projets et les clients de Paradigm Initiative Consulting.
  1. Gestion financière

 

  • Gérer les budgets alloués et réduire les coûts d’entretien des ressources numériques.
  • Effectuer toutes les tâches dans le cadre des budgets alloués.
  • Mobilisation de fonds pour l’organisation par le déploiement de compétences en médias numériques.
  • Veille  des réseaux de médias sociaux à la recherche de subventions et de possibilités de financement pour l’organisme.
  1. Gestion des affaires
  • Coordonner les réunions et entretenir les relations sur demande, en particulier avec les divers médias, tant sociaux que traditionnels.
  • Jouer un rôle actif dans les médias et la communication, le lobbying et le plaidoyer sur les questions liées aux programmes Paradigm Initiative à travers les médias sociaux.
  • Gérer les activités médiatiques et de communication dans le cadre du développement de tous nos programmes.
  • Élaborer des stratégies de communication pour les projets et les clients de PI Consulting
  • Identifier de nouveaux partenaires médiatiques stratégiques potentiels pour Paradigm et développer des stratégies pour travailler avec eux.
  • Aider le personnel et les partenaires de Paradigm Initiative  à faire passer des messages pertinents aux publics cibles à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de l’organisation sur les principales activités.
  • Assurer la liaison avec les partenaires actifs pour identifier et les aider à utiliser les rares occasions qui leur sont offertes de faire avancer les questions de plaidoyer de Paradigm Initiative dans divers médias au Nigéria.

    

  1. Gestion des médias

 

  • Cultiver les relations avec les principaux contacts des médias
  • Compiler et mettre à jour une base de données sur les médias et la communauté
  • Agir à titre de porte-parole public de Paradigm Initiative en assurant la liaison avec les médias et d’autres parties externes et en donnant des interviews
  • Surveiller l’analyse des sites Web et des médias sociaux
  • Suivre les contenus médiatiques liés au travail de Paradigm Initiative.
  • Assurer une couverture médiatique adéquate pour toutes les activités et fonction du programme
  • Identifier régulièrement les voies de communication et les possibilités de favoriser une communication efficace.
  • Effectuer des recherches et examiner tout le contenu du site Web et des plateformes de médias sociaux de l’organisation.

 

Qualifications, compétences et aptitudes :

  • Diplôme en communication, relations publiques, informatique, Science de l’Information et de la Communication, Systèmes d’information ou domaines connexes
  • Maîtrise de l’anglais et du français
  • Compétence avancée dans la gestion des médias sociaux et des systèmes de gestion de contenu
  • Expérience en stratégie de communication, gestion de projets et médias
  • Démontrer des compétences en relation avec les médias, de l’expérience dans la communication directe avec les organisations médiatiques et un niveau élevé de compétences en rédaction.
  • Faire preuve d’une compréhension étendue des enjeux et des politiques en matière de TIC au Nigéria
  • Expérience en matière de renforcement des capacités et/ou de formation très avantageuse
  • Pensée créative, développement, conception ou création d’idées, de relations, de systèmes ou de produits nouveaux, y compris des contributions artistiques.

 

Rémunération

En fonction de l’expérience et des compétences

 

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What next for Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan (2013 – 2018)?

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By Babatunde Okunoye

The development community in Nigeria became excited in 2013 when the Federal Government announced a national broadband plan to guide government policy towards broadband development in Nigeria. Nigeria’s national broadband plan was published amidst wide publicity and interest from stakeholders in the country and abroad.

Among the signature targets of the National Broadband Plan was the 6-fold increase of Nigeria’s broadband penetration from 5% to 30% and the inward spread of broadband fibre infrastructure into Nigeria’s cities and town in the nation’s hinterland.

As the deadlines for targets for the broadband plan approached, it was time for evaluation and although the Federal government claimed it had achieved its planned 30% target for broadband, experts in civil society and the private sector differed, with some suggesting the correct figure was closer to 10%. Government, civil society and private sector actors, however, agreed there’s still much more work to be done to expand broadband access in the country. It was clear a plan post-2018 was necessary, yet till now (Q2 2019), there doesn’t seem to be a clear policy direction from government on a post-2018 national broadband plan.

The National Broadband Plan 2013 – 2018 was an extremely useful policy document in the development of broadband in Nigeria. And although there are differences of opinion between civil society, the private sector and government on the extent of its success, there is no doubt that the Broadband Plan did make substantial contributions to the development and access to broadband in Nigeria.

In light of the importance of reliable and affordable broadband access to the development of Nigeria, it is important that conversations on a post-2018 be restarted. It’s Q2 2019 already and a survey of the policy landscape in Nigeria shows that there have not been any publicly visible plans or conversations towards a post-2018 Broadband plan.

The rebasing of Nigeria’s economy in 2013 showed the tremendous progress the nation had made in diversifying its economy. Nigeria’s economy was revealed to be the largest in Africa, overtaking South Africa. A key contributor to this new reality was the contribution of telecommunications and telecommunications-enabled services. The Internet, for instance, has enabled new forms of commerce and economic activity which has lifted many out of poverty and created a new army of technology-entrepreneurs.

Key to sustaining this new growth sector is expanding broadband access to the widest possible population in Nigeria. The starting point for this endeavour is a policy document, which guides the actions of all stakeholders towards this laudable goal. The National Broadband Plan (2013 – 2018) initiated a process which, although had its challenges, has left a positive footprint on the nation’s development. In light of the importance of fast and reliable broadband access to national development, it is in the best interest of the nation that plans for a post-2018 broadband plan are accelerated, and all stakeholders in government, civil society and the private sector coalesce effort to achieve this goal.

 

Babatunde Okunoye leads research at Paradigm Initiative.

Paradigm Initiative Condemns the Arrest and Deportation of Wakabi by Tanzanian Authorities

By | Press Release, Uncategorized

Paradigm Initiative condemns the arrest, detention and subsequent deportation of the executive director of the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), Dr Wairagala Wakabi by Tanzanian authorities.

Dr Wakabi was arrested, detained and detained upon arrival in Tanzania yesterday, April 25. According to a statement released by CIPESA, Dr Wakabi was in Tanzania to participate in the annual commemoration of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders’ Day on the invitation of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC). Dr Wakabi is a renowned human rights advocate and researcher and we believe that his unacceptable treatment in Tanzania is a further indication of Tanzania’s increasingly hostile attitude to the human rights community.

This is not the first time that Tanzania has mistreated human rights advocates. In November 2018, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists Africa program coordinator Angela Quintal and sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumowere were arrested, detained and deported from the country with the false claim that the duo were in Tanzania without proper visas. Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) had previously expressed concern over the arrest of other 11 human rights activists in Tanzania. Tanzanian police have accused of raiding a legal consultation meeting, convened by the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (Isla) and Community Health Services and Advocacy (Chesa), in Dar es Salaam. 

The continued assault on activists and advocates is unacceptable and we call on the African Union and other regional bodies to prevail on the Tanzanian government to respect the fundamental human rights of its citizens and guests. Paradigm Initiative asks the government to immediately address its shameful treatment of Dr Wakabi. It is in the government’s own best interest to acknowledge human rights defenders as viable stakeholders in democratic spaces and that civic spaces are a natural extension of the community that must be nurtured not crushed.

Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship 2019

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The application process is now open for the second edition of the Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship.

The Fellowship is a 4-month program designed to immerse outstanding, early career, journalists in digital rights and digital inclusion advocacy – and intervention efforts – in Africa. Selected journalists will work with Paradigm Initiative on various projects and contribute to improving public understanding of digital rights and inclusion issues. In 2018, Nigeria’s Victor Ekwealor (Techpoint) and Togo’s Emmanuel Vitus (GhanaWeb) emerged as the pioneer fellows. In 2019, we plan to select three fellows.

Components of the Fellowship

  • 2-day Orientation and Digital Rights/Inclusion training
  • 2-week residency at Paradigm Initiative’s offices in Nigeria. The Fellow will spend time at the Yaba HQ, Aba LIFE Centre, Abuja office, Ajegunle LIFE Centre and Kano LIFE Centre
  • 4-month virtual collaboration with Paradigm Initiative
  • Fellowship may also include fully-funded local and international travels to participate in and cover relevant events
  • Interaction with leading stakeholders in digital rights advocacy

Expectations

  • Fellows will be expected to participate in all scheduled activities
  • Fellows will be expected to publish, in their affiliated newspapers or magazines, at least twelve reports on digital rights and inclusion issues during the fellowship period. Fellows will retain full editorial direction on the stories
  • Fellows will be expected to continue to provide coverage to digital rights and inclusion issues after their fellowshipParadigm Initiative will provide fellows with a monthly stipend, and a one-time research grant, during the fellowship period

Who can apply?

  • The Fellowship is open to journalists affiliated with mainstream print and online newspapers in Africa
  • We are especially interested in women journalists
  • Interested candidates must demonstrate previous coverage of human rights and/or tech issues and interest in advocacy journalism
  • Interested candidates must not have spent more than ten years in journalism. We are most interested in outstanding, early career journalists

How to apply

Fill the application form here: http://bit.ly/PImf2019

Deadline: May 6, 2019.

Fellowship will run from July to October 2019.

Groups Sue Gbenga Olorunpomi and Lauretta Onochie Over “Hate Speech”

By | Press Release, Uncategorized

Two Civil Society organizations, Enough is Enough Nigeria and Paradigm Initiative have instituted a case asking the court to declare comments made by some political aides in Nigeria as Hate speeches.

Relying on documentary evidences gathered from online comments made by the two affected aides, Gbenga Olorunpomi, Aide to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Lauretta Onochie, Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, the organizations through their lawyer are asking the court to determine if the statements violates sections of Nigeria’s Cybercrime(Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act 2015 .

However, due to the elusiveness of the Defendants and their addresses, the Court favoured that the court processes should be advertised in national dailies. This was subsequently done on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 in two leading National Dailies with national spread

According to Adeboye Adegoke, Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative, “the two organizations filed the case as a measure to curb the spread of hate speeches in Nigeria, a trend which is mostly associated with the political class. While their principals may not be less guilty of similar accusations, Governors and Presidents are however protected from prosecution by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. It is, however, significant that those political actors with links to power are being challenged for comments made at several times. The usual trend in Nigeria was for the political class to use their position to persecute citizens, journalists, activists and opposition whom they deem too critical of power under the guise of fighting hate speech or fake news.”

“If hate speech is to be curbed in Nigeria, then the prosecution must start from the political class who has always gotten away with inciting statements some of whom have led to crisis and deaths of many in the past.” Says Adeboye

The case is expected to come up for hearing at the Federal High Court Abuja today, Thursday, March 14, 2019.

Mr President, It’s time to sign the Digital Rights Bill

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By Sodiq Alabi

 When the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill (HB490) was transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on February 4, many Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief. The digital rights advocacy community across the globe was ecstatic, and understandably so. The Bill is the first law dedicated to protecting digital rights and online freedom anywhere in Africa. If signed, the Bill will catapult Nigeria to the comity of nations leading the charge for the protection of digital rights and online freedom. Key amongst its provisions are the provisions on data privacy, free speech, press freedom, lawful interception and surveillance. 

The Bill has had a long journey to getting to the President’s table. First proposed and extensively discussed within the civil society and rights advocacy community during the 2014 Internet Freedom Forum hosted by Paradigm Initiative, it was not until 2016 before the Bill was tabled before the House of Representatives thanks to an exemplary civil society-legislature collaboration. Sponsored by Hon. Chukwuemeka Ujam, the Bill spent almost two years in the House before it was passed in December 2017.

When the Senate concurred with its sister-chamber in March 2018, supporters of the Bill assumed the Bill’s legislative journey had ended. Unfortunately, the Bill remained with the National Assembly for another eight months without its transmission to the president. Apparently, the National Assembly’s legal unit had flagged a problem in one of its clauses, therefore leading to another round of the legislative process. The affected clause was corrected and the revised Bill was passed by both chambers of the National Assembly in November and December 2018. Two months later, on February 4, 2018, the Bill was sent to the president for his assent as required by the constitution.

The constitution also requires the president to assent or decline assent to a bill within thirty days of receiving the bill from the legislature. We are now roughly two weeks from the end of this countdown. While the nation is engulfed in organising federal and state elections, it is crucial that important government business like the signing of a crucial piece of legislation does not suffer as a result. We urge President Muhammadu Buhari and his staffers to find the time, in between preparations for the elections, to study the Bill and have it signed before the deadline. This would be a commendable demonstration of the robustness of our presidential system and its ability to keep the country running even in the face of a crucial election for its leader.

As Paradigm Initiative, the group that leads the advocacy for the passage of the Bill said in a statement, President Buhari has a history of signing forward-looking Bills including the #NotTooYoungToRun and the Disability Bill. The Digital Rights Bill falls into this category of Bills as it provides clear legal backing for online freedom and digital rights in an era when the digital space has become central to life. Paradigm Initiative’s Adeboye Adegoke is therefore right when he said, “If signed, the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill will add to what appears to be a forward-looking disposition of the administration to policymaking. What President Muhammadu Buhari does with the Bill will go a long way to define the administration’s disposition towards technology and its viability in improving the economic base of Nigeria.”

The last few years have seen tens of millions of people connected to the internet in the country. These people conduct business, have a social life, learn and teach via this important tool. They even campaign for political candidates and are campaigning to via the internet. However, despite the deployment of the internet across the country, Nigeria, unfortunately, lacks a comprehensive legal framework that protects human rights online, a situation that makes Nigerians online vulnerable to rights abuse. It is therefore easy to agree with Web Foundation when they declared that, “Nigerians cannot wait any longer for digital rights, freedoms and opportunities. The President’s Assent is urgently needed to secure fundamental rights, to support a stronger digital economy, and to build a more secure internet.”

Digital rights are human rights and by signing the Digital Rights Bill into law, President Muhammadu Buhari would give much-needed protection to these crucial rights. It is time to make history, Mr President.

Sodiq Alabi leads communications at Paradigm Initiative.

Leveraging the Gains of Multi-stakeholder Process to Cybersecurity Policy

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By Boye Adegoke

Cybersecurity is a big and important subject all over the world. In Nigeria, the work became cut out as Nigeria grappled with the scourge of Cybercriminals popularly known as Yahoo Yahoo at the turn of the Millennium. While the innovations that gave the world the likes of Facebook, Google, Apple, Huawei and other forms of innovative technology were being celebrated all over the world, Nigeria was grappling with managing its image as it appears many young people in Nigeria have sadly embraced the negative side of technology and are becoming renowned worldwide as cybercriminals. The damage done is yet to be fully salvaged. According to a 2018 Nigeria Cybersecurity Outlook released by Deloitte, “Social engineering attacks conducted via emails, SMS and calls still the number one threat being faced in Nigeria as at today. Also, it is not enough to just know more about   trends or attacks, it is about putting the right measures in place so as to be better prepared to defend against them”

Nigeria has since taken many steps to address the scourge by aligning with other efforts globally such as establishing the Computer Emergency Response Teams known as NG Certs. In February 2015, the Government adopted the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy prepared by the Inter-Ministerial Committee coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser. A few months later, Nigeria passed the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015 which entered into force on 15th May 2015. The purpose of the Act is also to promote cybersecurity and cybercrime prevention, and it provides for obligations to the private sector. Many stakeholders especially from civil society have criticized this law and are seeking judicial intervention to dislodge some parts of the law which are deemed non-right respecting. Also, there is an ongoing process to repeal and re-enact this law by the Legislative Arm of the Nigerian Government. The ongoing process is also being criticized as non-transparent because many stakeholders feel left out. The need for effective cross-stakeholder collaboration is widely recognized, as required in cybersecurity policy formulation process, with numerous international instruments reinforcing the message.

What’s clear about Nigeria’s approach is that it has been largely driven by concerns around security issues as well as implications for National security and business. Meanwhile, Cybersecurity has relevance to individual users as much as it does for Nations and businesses. This is why greater stakeholder involvement in cybersecurity policy development process is very important. Civil society concerns have usually been around how human rights concerns are often jettisoned or deemed inconsequential in cybersecurity policy development. Internet security threats are complex, and they affect multiple stakeholders, therefore, they require coordinated efforts to be adequately addressed. Constitutionally guaranteed rights must be respected in the cyberspace i.e. the rights that apply offline must also apply online. From an individual perspective, cybersecurity isn’t limited to freedom from cyberattacks but includes the right to privacy, right to freedom expression and protection of personal data; communication etc. this hardly makes it into the country’s cybersecurity agenda. This disregard for human rights may not be unconnected with the gaps that exist in the composition or the stakeholder mapping that currently exists.

The Important role that all stakeholders have to play in ensuring that the governance of cyberspace remains open, inclusive, and sufficiently flexible to adapt itself to changing risks and challenges must be emphasized. Users are increasingly distrustful of the internet, and that poses a challenge to its future. “Users’ trust is at the core Internet-driven business landscape. Immediate steps to enhance users trust must be taken. Governments must ensure that users trust is not broken online by ensuring there’s a transparent and multi-stakeholder approach to the development of cybersecurity policies and strategies. A truly multistakeholder approach to National Cybersecurity Strategy Development is poised to address this gap drawing on real-life examples of good practices in other climes. Governments, including military and intelligence sectors, could benefit from increasing their awareness of the multistakeholder nature of the Internet and the vital importance of cooperation with other stakeholders to address security threats.

In conclusion, we must move away from paying lip-service to the idea of a multistakeholder approach to cybersecurity policy development process. There must be a genuine effort to make the process inclusive to capture different stakeholder group who are affected and can bring invaluable insight to the process.  The more robust the inputs and the process is, the better the outputs. It must be noted however that the multi-Stakeholder approach is not a kill switch that addresses all the problems in a swipe; it is, however, a fundamental approach that is able to give all stakeholders a sense of belonging and gives an opportunity to capture nuances, local context into the process; The approach is widely accepted as the optimal way to make policy decisions for a globally distributed network. The United Nations Internet Governance Forum embraces multistakeholder approach model and the model has also been adopted by a growing number of international organizations. The model will help to create a veritable platform for a multi-stakeholder conversation, knowledge sharing and learning in Nigeria around cybersecurity policy development and implementation.

 

Adeboye Adegoke (@adeboyeBGO) is Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Rights Program Manager for Anglophone West Africa.

internet_shutdown_PINigeria

#KeepItOn : vers une élection sans internet au Sénégal?

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Uncategorized

Par Emmanuel Vitus

Le Sénégal est le seul État d’Afrique occidentale, îles exceptées, à ne pas avoir subi de coup d’état depuis son indépendance, en 1960. La transparence et stabilité qui ont toujours marqué les échéances électorales ont contribué à faire du pays un exemple régional. Mais le prochain scrutin présidentiel s’annonce dans un climat tendu caractérisé par la montée en puissance des «Fake News» et des discours de haine en ligne.

Alors que la campagne électorale a débuté depuis une semaine, sur les réseaux sociaux, les campagnes de dénigrements et de désinformations sont au firmament. Pour contrer le phénomène, le gouvernement a annoncé l’adoption de nouvelles dispositions contre la diffusion des «Fake news» et des discours de haine sur internet.

Mais déjà, plusieurs voix s’élèvent aussi bien dans la société civile que du côté de la presse.

Même s’ils reconnaissent de façon unanime l’urgence de mettre un terme à l’hémorragie des «Fake news», les professionnels des médias craignent que la nouvelle loi à adopter ne restreigne l’espace de la liberté d’expression ou ne soit instrumentalisée par les pouvoirs publics pour museler la presse.

Aussi, plusieurs tribunes ont été commises par des journalistes sénégalais pour alerter l’opinion sur les risques de censures et d’extrapolation des accusations de «Fake News» que les pouvoirs publics pourraient porter contre tout Sénégalais dès que leurs intérêts seront menacés.

Peine d’emprisonnement

Du point de vue juridique, c’est l’article 255 du code pénal qui réprime la diffusion des «Fake news» au Sénégal. La disposition punit d’une peine d’emprisonnement de trois (3) ans et d’une amende de 100000 à 1500000 FCFA la «publication, diffusion, divulgation ou reproduction, par quelque moyen que ce soit, de nouvelles fausses, de pièces fabriquées, falsifiées ou mensongèrement attribuées à des tiers (…) lorsque la publication faite ou non de mauvaise foi, aura entraîné la désobéissance aux lois du pays ou porté atteinte au moral de la population, ou jeté le discrédit sur les institutions publiques ou leur fonctionnement».

Selon la loi sénégalaise, en cas de diffusion de «Fake news», le mandat de dépôt est obligatoire (art 139). De même, les auteurs pourraient être frappés d’une interdiction de séjour sur le sol sénégalais durant cinq (05) ans au plus.   

Article 27, l’épée de Damoclès

Bien que le gouvernement ait annoncé à plusieurs reprises ne pas vouloir entraver la liberté des Sénégalais, l’article 27 d’un projet de loi portant «Code des communications électroniques», déjà adopté en conseil des ministres le 6 juin 2018, laisse des doutes sur la sincérité des engagements du pouvoir public à laisser l’internet ouvert lors du prochain scrutin.

Dans un de ses alinéas, il stipule, entre autres, que «l’Autorité de régulation peut autoriser ou imposer toute mesure de gestion du trafic qu’elle juge utile pour, notamment préserver la concurrence dans le secteur des communications électroniques et veiller au traitement équitable de services similaires».

Cette clause selon la société civile, témoigne à suffisance de la volonté des autorités étatiques de livrer les Sénégalais au diktat du régulateur et des opérateurs lors du prochain scrutin.

Perte évaluée à 3 milliards

Si le gouvernement de Macky Sall venait à couper l’internet le 24 février prochain, près de 10 millions d’internautes seront déconnectés du monde sans compter les conséquences sur la vie socio-économique du pays.

Une journée de coupure d’internet au Sénégal coûtera environ 5849015 dollars US soit environ 3370101532 CFA par jour selon les estimations de Netblocks, une plate-forme qui évalue l’impact économique des coupures d’internet à travers le monde. C’est un minimum parce que l’estimation ne comprend pas les paiements mobiles, les transactions du secteur informel et les recettes fiscales.

Une probable coupure constitue un danger pour le développement de l’économie numérique pour la jeunesse de ce pays en particulier. Cette jeunesse ambitieuse, en quête de revenus qui s’activent dans l’entrepreneuriat numérique.

Aussi, une éventuelle coupure constituerait un frein au développement de toutes les entreprises sénégalaises et couches sociales qui dépendent du numérique.  

Vivement que le Sénégal, reconnu mondialement pour ces politiques progressives, maintienne l’internet ouvert lors du prochain scrutin pour l’intérêt de ses 16 millions d’habitants, car la liberté d’expression et de communication est une liberté fondamentale pour toute démocratie.

 

Emmanuel Vitus est membre de Google Policy chez Paradigm Initiative.

Digital rights are human rights, even during elections

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, Uncategorized

By Babatunde Okunoye

In the context of Africa’s socio-economic challenges, elections are a high stakes process where heinous atrocities have been committed. The list includes mass killings, abductions, rape, arson and assassination. At the onset of the digital age, as the power of digital media became apparent by events such as the Arab Spring uprisings, the free flow of information during elections has also come under attack.

In Africa, Internet shutdowns or even limited social media blackouts have mainly occurred around elections or other political events. And we don’t need to look far behind to learn how, because in 2019 already we’ve had Internet shutdowns or social media shutdowns in Congo DRC, Chad, Sudan, Gabon and Zimbabwe – all politically motivated.

In Nigeria, we say ‘’there is no smoke without fire’’. When a few weeks ago the Nigerian Guardian, perhaps Nigeria’s most authoritative news source carried a report citing fears of an Internet shutdown in the country implemented by the government, there was clear concern among civil society activists. Hence our relief was palpable when the government later came out to deny such plans. We hope they keep to their word, unlike the authorities in Zimbabwe did after similar assurances. (See tips here to stay online in the event of internet restriction) 

As Nigeria chooses its President and other national leaders starting this Saturday, we urge the authorities to recall that elections are servants of national development. They serve as a vehicle to usher in new leaders and drivers of development for a nation. Their coming must never be heralded by the dark episode of an Internet disruption.

Internet shutdowns are human rights violations. They do not serve the purpose for which they’re implemented – usually to avoid the spread of violence or other trouble. Rather, the information blackout they occasion can be deadly in numerous humanitarian situations such as emergencies. As we all go out to vote to start on Saturday, we urge our leaders to also vote to keep the Internet on.

 

Babatunde Okunoye leads research at Paradigm Initiative. 

 

  

 

New Year, New Internet Disruptions

By | Uncategorized
By Bulanda Nkhowani
As the New Year dawned, conveying with it the promise of new things to come, an unprecedented new wave of internet shutdowns and disruptions hit Africa. On the 21st December 2018, the Sudanese government ordered for restricted access to social media sites in an effort to prevent the free flow of information and communication.This was during countrywide protests against soaring food and fuel prices, and human rights abuses that have existed for many years.

This was not the first time that Sudanese faced an internet disruption during a protest, and the impact of this particular shutdown smeared the arrival of a new year.

On 30th December 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo faced yet another government ordered internet shutdown and disruptions on mobile and fixed line services, hours before the country could head to the polls. The shutdown progressed into a full blackout that lasted several days.

Barely a week later, internet services in Gabon were suspended on 7th January 2019 during an attempted Coup.

Fast forward to 14th January, amid protests against rising fuel and food prices, Zimbabweans woke up to a throttled internet, mostly affecting social media sites, which later led to a complete blackout in the early hours of 15th January.

The unique aspect of this incident was the transparency of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to notify customers of service disruptions.

A leading ISP, Econet Wireless, confirmed the shutdown in a statement and SMS broadcasts, notifying customers of a government written warrant, under section 6 of the Interception of Communications Act, requesting ISPs to suspend all internet services.

A directive that they obliged because it was supposedly within the law and non- compliance would attract a fine or three-year jail term for local management.

Although, many factions have challenged the legality of the written warrant because the Act speaks to the interception of communication services and not to the complete blocking of internet connectivity.

Last year, Paradigm Initiative tracked at least eight countries in Africa that experienced government-ordered internet disruptions.

Thus far, January 2019 has seen three internet access restrictions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Zimbabwe with one forgotten case of Chad, where prolonged internet disruption has been in effect since March 2018.

Consequently, the question that comes to mind is why are we experiencing so many cases of internet disruptions?

A significant aspect to consider is governments will to control public access to information and communication within a country and to the outside world.

A common trend to be noted is that most, if not all documented cases of internet blocks occurred during times of social and civil unrest.

For instance, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the government confirmed that they were enforcing internet and SMS restrictions to prevent misinformation through the circulation of fake election results, which could lead to chaos and protests.

In other nations, social media disruptions have been used as a tool to restrict people’s ability to broadcast human rights abuses to the outside world.

Due to its transboundary nature, the internet and social media alike have empowered citizens as national watchdogs with the capacity to broadcast to a wider audience at a click of a button.

On the other hand, members of the press who largely depend on the internet experience a limited ability to gather information and contact sources, let alone broadcast their stories.

All the above mentioned examples highlight direct violations on individual’s freedom of speech and right to access information online as envisaged in the UN Resolution on the ‘promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet’ and the African Commission’s Resolution on the ‘right to freedom of expression and information on the internet in Africa’.

The blatant attacks on people’s rights to access information and express themselves freely online, particularly during fragile times, clearly demonstrates government’s fear of the role of the internet and social media on people’s ability to mobilise for change.

Aside from social and political impacts, internet and network disruptions pose significant economic losses.

A report by Brookings Institution estimates a global loss of over US$2.4 billion between June 2015 and June 2016. While CIPESA estimates losses of up to US$237 million in Africa since 2015.

If the current wave of shutdowns so early in the year is anything to go by, we can expect a lot more internet disruptions as the year progresses.

This presents an opportunity for a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach towards combating internet blackouts and strengthening existing digital rights advocacy efforts that will yield tangible policy and legislative shifts.

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