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

Par | Plaidoyer, Droits numériques, DRIF, Politique de TIC

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

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

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

Pour plus d’informations sur DRIF21, cliquez ICI.

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

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

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

Par | Plaidoyer, Droits numériques, DRIF

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

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

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

For more information about DRIF21, Click HERE.

Want to attend DRIF21? Register HERE.

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

 

Press Release: Paradigm Initiative Opens DRIF21 Registration.

Par | Communiqué de presse

Paradigm Initiative is thrilled to announce the opening of registration for the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum, 2021 starting on Monday, January 18th to Thursday, February 18th, 2021. DRIF21 will run from April 12th to 30th, 2021 with a series of virtual and in-person country interactions in 12 African Countries. DRIF is an important platform where conversations on digital policy in Africa are shaped, policy directions debated and partnerships forged for action. It hosts diverse skills and capacities for enhancing digital rights and inclusion within the African continent and beyond.  

“In this 8th edition, PIN looks forward to co-hosting 12 in-person DRIF21 sessions with 13 partners in the following countries; Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Chad, Nigeria, Namibia, Cameroon, Zambia, and the Central African Republic”, says PIN Community Manager, Thobekile Matimbe. “This will be an extraordinary platform so timely in these COVID-19 times when deliberations on digital rights and inclusion have become most urgent”, she added. 

DRIF21 will commence with a Virtual Open Day on April, 12th 2021, followed by a series of in-person sessions, and end with virtual closing sessions on April 28th, 29th, and 30th, 2021. This will be a distributed multi-country festival!

Paradigm Initiative is pleased to announce its partnership with the following organisations hosting in-person sessions for DRIF21; 

Digital Shelter in Somalia, Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organisations in Ethiopia, Digital Human Rights Lab in Uganda, Koneta Initiative in South Sudan, Zaina Foundation in Tanzania, Internet Society Chad Chapter, Conseil des Panafricanistes du Tchad in Chad, Namibia Digital Foundation in Namibia, Internet pour tous en Centrafrique in Central African Republic, TechHerNigeria, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, A&E Law Partnership and Edunovative Concept, and Consultancy in Nigeria. In-person sessions will only be attended by a limited number of participants within the specific countries in line with COVID-19 in-country guidelines and live-streamed on social media platforms. In extending the DRIF21 conversations globally, PIN is also excited to partner with a diverse range of virtual session hosts including Media Defence, the Global Network Initiative, AIRA, CIPESA, and the University of Connecticut Human Rights Institute. 

PIN invites diverse businesses, civil society, the technical community, academia, government, and private sector to register to attend these enriching engagements on the following platform https://drif.paradigmhq.org/registration/. 

For inquiries on attending in-person country sessions, please email drif@paradigmhq.org

 

Press Release: Paradigm Initiative Condemns Uganda Internet Shutdown.

Par | Communiqué de presse

Paradigm Initiative condemns, in the strongest terms possible, the directive by the Uganda Communications Commission ordering a temporary “Suspension of the Operation of Internet Gateways” allegedly in the exercise of its functions, under Sections 5(1) and 56 of the Uganda Communications Act of 2013. As a result of this directive, major internet service providers such as MTN and Airtel Uganda have issued communications to the effect that they have complied as ordered. 

As is now characteristic of African governments during elections and specifically on election day, it is unfortunate but not surprising that the Government of the Republic of Uganda elected to shut down the internet connectivity just a day before the general elections scheduled for the 14th of January 2021. 

This action to block internet access in Uganda is a blatant violation of regional and international standards on freedom of expression and access to information. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it glaring that internet access is an enabler for accessing health care and education. An attack on internet access is clearly a violation of human rights. Article 9 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights provides for access to information as the right to receive information and is echoed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights under Article 19(2). The government of Uganda must promote access to information and freedom of expression through unhindered access to the internet. 

 In terms of Principle 37 of the Declaration of Principles On Freedom Of Expression And Access To Information In Africa States must facilitate the rights to freedom of expression and access to information online and the means necessary to exercise these rights and must 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. Furthermore, PIN calls on the government of Uganda to adhere to the objective of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance under Article 2(10) to promote the establishment of the necessary conditions to foster citizen participation, transparency, access to information, freedom of the press and accountability in the management of public affairs. An open internet will ensure this compliance as well as the promotion of human rights under article 4 of the same. 

We urge the Ugandan authorities to respect their citizens’ right to, among others, access to information as guaranteed by the relevant Ugandan laws as well as the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. 

Vacancy – Human Resource Officer

Par | DigitalJobs

We are looking for a brilliant individual to join our Human Resources team. The successful candidate will report to the Human Resource Manager and lend full support to Paradigm Initiative’s teams on tasks related to human resources which includes recruitment, staffing, training and development, performance monitoring.

Rôles et responsabilités

  1. Recruitment
    • Contribute to the development and implementation of the recruitment system and tools for vacancy management, and the maintenance of standards, interview procedures, and protocols.
    • Prepare notices and advertisements for vacant staff positions.
  • Schedule and organize interviews
  • Participate in applicant interviews
  • Conduct reference checks on possible candidates
  • Communicate back to unsuccessful applicants
  1. Staff development
  • Identify training and development opportunities for staff
  • Implement PIN’s Personal Development Plan and training schedule
  • Process employee requests for outside training while complying with policies and procedures, and determining the relevance of training to organization goals
  1. Benefits and Entitlements
  • Facilitate the provision of staff entitlements; Health Insurance, Loans
  1. Performance management
  • Assist the Human Resource Manager in conducting performance appraisals
  1. Administration
  • Supervise the administration of services to staff, i.e. Complimentary cards, ID cards, etc.
  • Preparation of administrative budget and monitor budgets ensuring no over-expenditures;
  • Filing and maintaining employee records, maintaining & updating employee records in personnel files.
  1. Staff Attendance Activities
  • Monitor scheduled absences such as holidays or travel, and coordinate actions to ensure the staff absence has been adequately covered off to ensure continuity of services.
  • Manage leave and sickness absence records
  • Perform other relevant duties that may be assigned by the Human Resource Manager

 Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, Personnel Management or related field required;
  • Maximum of 2 years of general human resource management experience required, 
  • Must be a member of the CIPM or have other industry certifications like SHRM, HRCI 
  • Effective verbal and listening communications skills
  • Computer skills including the ability to operate spreadsheets and word processing programs at a highly proficient level
  • Effective written communications skills including the ability to prepare reports and proposals

For the purpose of gender balance, a female candidate will be preferred. The position is based in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

Remuneration is between N1.8M et N2.2M comprising annual gross salary, reimbursements (housing, transportation, communication), amongst other benefits.

 

comment s'inscrire

Send a one-page statement of Interest, with your recent CV attached, to hr@paradigmhq.org.

The application closes on January 25, 2021, but the position will be filled as soon as we find the right fit. If you think you are the right fit, do not delay in sending in your application.

Vacancy: COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT – GRAPHICS DESIGNER

Par | DigitalJobs, TIC, LA VIE

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a non-profit social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems for young people, in order to improve their livelihoods. Two of PIN’s programs focus on digital inclusion while the third focuses on digital rights advocacy. Paradigm Initiative’s digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in key regions of Africa. Our policy advocacy efforts include media campaigns, coalition building, capacity building, research and report-writing.

Résumé du poste:  

We are seeking a Graphics Designer to join our team. You will be designing a wide variety of things across digital and offline media.  

Reporting To: 

chargée de communication

Rôles et responsabilités: 

  • Plan concepts by studying relevant information and materials
  • Illustrate concepts by designing examples of art arrangement, size, type size and style
  • Prepare finished art by operating necessary equipment and software
  • Coordinate with outside agencies, art services, web designer, printers and colleagues, where necessary
  • Communicate with internal customers about layout and design
  • Create a wide range of graphics and layouts with software such as adobe photoshop and illustrator.
  • Review final layouts and suggest improvements where necessary
  • Timely response to the communications needs of team members and providing timely updates regarding any ongoing project.
  • Produce all email campaigns, solicit content from internal sources, and manage review, testing, and sending.
  • Publish a variety of digital content with a focus on producing engaging web pages that are visually appealing and provide an overall rich experience for partners and visitors. Manage all postings to ensure content is on-brand and search- and social-optimized.
  • Develop and execute social and print media campaigns for key days, themes, and priority upcoming content.
  • Create content for social media accounts, post regularly on each account and ensure engagement with our various audiences.
  • Manage social ad campaigns and other promotions; track and share results for continuous improvement to targeting and segments.
  • Promote new content, key pages, and calls-to-action across channels. Position content to target different segments and to fit the format and publishing requirements of each platform
  • Contribute to team efforts by accomplishing tasks as needed
  • Other projects as assigned

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Graphics Design or any other related field
  • At least 2 years of relevant work experience as a Graphics Designer
  • Experience with computer-aided design
  • Excellent IT skills especially with design and photo-editing software

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: 

  • Must be an exceptionally creative and strategic thinker with good judgement and ability to make independent decisions in a changing environment
  • Must be a good communicator; have excellent written, presentation and oral communications in English
  • Compétences en graphisme avec un portefeuille solide
  • Proficiency with required desktop publishing tools including Photoshop, InDesign Quark and Illustrator
  • Software skills desired – WordPress, SquareSpace, MailChimp (or similar email service provider), offline and cloud-based productivity tools
  • A strong eye for visual composition
  • Effective time management skills and the ability to meet deadlines
  • Understanding of corporate identity, advertisements and multimedia design
  • Attention to details and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to give and receive constructive criticism
  • Flexibility and ability to work collaboratively with others especially other team members
  • Ability to understand, speak and write French will be an added advantage

To be successful in this position, you will be a self-starter, capable of delivering brilliant creative ideas and showing amazing attention to detail.

comment s'inscrire

Send a one-page statement of interest, copies of or links to your graphic design works and your recent CV attached to hr@paradigmhq.org.

The application will be open until December 31, 2020, but it will be filled as soon as we find the right fit. If you think you are the right fit, do not delay in sending in your application.

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

Par | Plaidoyer, Droits numériques, Communiqué de presse

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

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

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

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

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

How Training Programs and Training Organizations Make a difference.

Par | AbaLIFE, AjegunleLIFE, Échos de la vie, TIC, LA VIE

Numbers are important but a positive impact and track records make the difference. At Paradigm Initiative, our training programs are more focused on impact over numbers. The organization has been in existence for 13 years now and has not deviated from its primary goal – connecting underserved young Africans to opportunities in the digital economy in order for them to improve their livelihoods. The organization has worked with governments, civil society, private institutions, and international organizations, including the United Nations, to set standards in ICT education, telecenter support, ICT applications in rural areas, and other ICT interventions in Nigeria and across Africa.

LIFE Training Centre, Aba.

Over the years, Paradigm Initiative (PIN) has worked so hard to ensure that its focus is not only on numbers but on impact. For instance, one of PIN’s training programs is the LIFE project, an acronym for Life Skills, ICTs, Financial literacy, and Entrepreneurship – these are the components that make up the training program, and its primary focus has always been on youth within the ages of 12-28 years. The LIFE training program started in Ajegunle (Lagos State), a community in the South-West region in Nigeria but has replicated to other regions (South-East, Northwest) and currently working with organizations in the South-South and North-East in order to expand its operations and impact.  

LIFE Training Centre, Aba

As an organization, we have noticed that one of the challenges most training organizations face is the fact that they don’t keep track of participants that have gone through their training programs. They might have the numbers but they can’t measure the impact on the participants. Having records of participants that have gone through a training program has a huge impact on the organization. To start with, it helps with fundraising – grant-making organizations (funders) want to see what you have done and the impact on society. They want to hear and see your beneficiaries share their stories on how the training program has positively impacted them and moved them from point A to point B. Most times, all funders want is “we have done it, not we can do it”. 

Tracking records will highlight the fact that the organization thought leaders in the ecosystem. This will allow other organizations to want to learn and work with you. This also allows funders to look for you when they want to implement a specific project that has your name and expertise on it. For instance, PIN worked with Intel Corporation on the She Will Connect Project from 2016 to 2018 after Intel literally walked into PIN’s office and offered to work with PIN.     

LIFE Training Centre, Ajegunle.

Focusing on impact and tracking records also gives the organization good publicity and visibility. When training programs are more concerned about impact and track records, publicity and visibility are much easier because beneficiaries will talk/speak about the program (project) and the organization wherever they have the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise.

There are countless benefits when training programs are focused on impact and have records of trainees that have benefited from the program. It’s undeniable that people are eager to associate with training organizations that can track and measure their impact. When this process is in place, it’s easy to get experts and professionals that appreciate the work you do and want to contribute (volunteer) or play a part in the success of the program.

Paradigm Initiative’s LIFE program has a record of its trainees from inception, way back from 2007. We keep a database of all trainees that have passed through the program and this is reviewed (updated) periodically. The project is structured in a way that everyone we train is mandated to send a six-month regular report immediately after the training. This has helped us to know what each trainee is doing per time; the process does not just end with trainees sending reports but program staff also taking the responsibility to check on these trainees. Our program staff also ensures a lasting relationship is created before the trainee graduate (leave) from the program. We use different mediums to track (follow-up) our beneficiaries; we call and SMS them, we create both WhatsApp and Facebook groups for them in order to ease communications, and for those that don’t have emails before joining the program, we make sure they create one for themselves and ensure they get familiar with it.    

Okoye Chisom Gloria, L.I.F.E Trainee.

Every year, PIN produces an annual publication referred to as “Echoes from LIFE.” It is a publication that has new impact stories of beneficiaries from the LIFE program. This is possible because we get updates (stories) from our trainees through our follow-up mechanisms (process). Okoye Chisom Gloria joined the LIFE program after a publicity outreach that happened in her Secondary School in 2012, but she told herself that it was all too good to be true, and she didn’t give it any further thought. In 2013, she enrolled and was selected after a second trial – “The program helped me with people-relations (skills) and exposed me to ICT, and took away the shy nature in me. Chisom volunteered for several years on the program before she went further to study Computer Engineering at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State.

Okoye Chisom Gloria, L.I.F.E Trainee.

She was a group leader during practical sessions, taught tutorials to her course-mates, and also helped them with issues such as formatting of PCs, repairs, and maintenance. She makes herself available to share new knowledge with our current trainees when she is on break. Now, she has graduated from the University (2014 – 2018), completed her Youth Service (2019 – 2020), and has fully resumed with KPMG (2020) in Nigeria, one of the leading audit firms in the world as a Front end Engineer with interest in creating interactive and rich user experience products. She has experience building a user interface as a sole developer and as part of a team. We constantly follow-up with hundreds of our beneficiaries following the same process as that of Chisom. With this, the program has never run out of impact stories. Finally, focusing on impact and tracking records informs the organization of the number of direct and indirect beneficiaries recorded.     

We are in the process of replicating the LIFE program in Senegal with two-year grant support from the Internet Society Foundation (ISOC). This was possible because the Foundation saw that we have a database of young people that have benefited from our LIFE program and how they have moved on to improve their livelihoods over the years. That gave us leverage over other Senegalese organizations that applied for the grant.

 

By Tosin Abolaji – Program Manager, Digital Inclusion.

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

Par | Plaidoyer, Droits numériques, Liberté d'Internet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Analysts on Ethiopia’s ‘assault’ on connectivity

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

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

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

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

Why the outrage and calls for lifting measure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Paradigm Initiative calls for Stakeholders Input Into Draft Tanzania’s Digital Rights and Freedoms Bill, 2020.

Par | Communiqué de presse

Pan-African Digital Rights organization, Paradigm Initiative has called for input to a draft Internet Rights Bill for Tanzania. The bill which is an outcome of a series of capacity-building workshops among digital rights stakeholders in Tanzania including lawyers, academics, the media, members of the civil society among others, was modeled after the Nigerian Digital Rights and Freedom Bill. In the interaction with the stakeholders, it became evident that there is an urgent need to create an empowered citizenry and digital rights community that can work with the government of the Republic of Tanzania to safeguard citizens’ digital rights. In addition to the existing cyber-related laws in the country such as the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA) and the Cybercrimes Act, Paradigm Initiative identified the need and saw it necessary to not only initiate but also provide technical support to the process of the enactment of a Digital Rights law in Tanzania. This Bill seeks to protect internet users in Tanzania from infringement of their fundamental freedoms and to guarantee the application of human rights for users of digital platforms and/or digital media.

The discussions around the Bill kicked off in earnest during a Civil Society and Media Forum that Paradigm Initiative organized in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in August 2020 with support from Counterpart International. The zero drafts of the Bill is ready for scrutiny and submission of comments by the members of the public and other stakeholders in Tanzania. We expect that stakeholders in Tanzania will be able to analyze and articulate digital rights issues in their country in this Bill thus improving the quality and the relevance of the draft bill to the Tanzanian context. It is our ardent hope that our intervention in Tanzania through leading the drafting of this bill will be accorded with the necessary stakeholder support and we look forward to engaging entities such as the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority and the parliament who are very crucial to the objective of the bill as part of the process.

Call for Input – Tanzania Bill on Digital Rights: CLICK HERE

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