Communiqué de presse

Le Parlement tanzanien adopte des amendements qui portent atteinte aux droits numériques malgré le rejet des organisations de la société civile

Par | Droits numériques, Communiqué de presse

On June 27, 2019 the Tanzanian parliament passed into law amendments to the Written Laws despite pushback from civil society and human rights defenders. The Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments No. 3 of 2019) Bill was made public on June 19 under a “certificate of urgency” to speed up its passage. The discussions concerning the bill began in Parliament on June 21, 2019. Members of civil society raised their concerns over the short notice to provide feedback on the Bill on the morning of June 21. ‘Gbenga Sesan, the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative, a digital rights organisation working in the region, stated that “Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) urged that if this bill was to be passed it would restrict the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association, placing impermissible restrictions on civil society organisations’ operations’’.

The laws proposed to be amended included the Non-Governmental Organisations Act 2002 (NGOs Act), Society Act, Trustees and Incorporations Act and The Companies Act 2002 among others. These four laws are among the main laws which govern Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Tanzania hence raising concerns over whether this was targeted as well as the previous laws to further compress democracy in Tanzania. Tope Ogundipe, Director of Programs Paradigm Initiative, noted, “On June 21 and 22, 2019, some CSOs managed to submit their views before Parliamentary committees in Dodoma. However yesterday the Parliament passed it with only a handful of recommendations being carried forward’’.

The role of Civil Society in fostering development and protecting human rights can not be underestimated. CSO’s have not only provided jobs but have contributed to positive development in various sectors of the economy and wellbeing of the nation. In a statement issued by the Tanzania Human rights defenders coalition (THRDC) along with over 300 other CSO’s, the urgency of passing this bill did not give reasonable time for the public to comprehend the implications of such a law. In attempts to push back, movements such as Change Tanzania published an online petition to collect signatures to lobby the parliament to give more time for comments before passing. However despite collection of over 900 signatures in a span of two days, the petition fell on deaf ears.

There are some positive aspects to the amendments such as the Statistics Act now giving room for due process, as well decriminalizing publishing of statistics data. However, the National Bureau of Statistics still has the final say on the approval of statistics. A post on Instagram by THRDC said that “The government has agreed to put in place procedures for compliance for companies and NGO’s, make amendments to the definition of NGO, Amendments of section 26 which was to give the registrar powers to suspend an NGO Pending determination by the board and monitor and evaluate NGO’s on a quarterly basis’’. Other sections include section 27 and 28 which covers deregistration of NGO’s which fail to comply within the time frame of 2 months. However, it is still unclear which of the specific recommendations from stakeholders have been taken into account when making amendments under the provisions highlighted.

The Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative, ‘Gbenga Sesan, added, “The country has passed a series of oppressive laws in a short span of slightly over a year when they first released the changes to the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA) in March last year’’. This was followed by amendments to the Statistical Act and then the Political Parties Act that was passed earlier this year as well, not giving enough time for concrete responses from stakeholders. While the county is approaching elections, the role of civil society at this crucial time is jeopardized.

For the citizens of Tanzania there’s no safe space both offline and online. With content online subject to fall under the Cybercrime Act or seen as a violation of EPOCA there’s no room to express views. With the coming in of such new laws Civil society that have been working towards seeking redress and legal strategies to protect human rights including digital rights are left exposed.The role CSO’s have of building communities of trust both offline and online and keeping citizens engaged in matters of direct concern via media and other means will also be challenged. The possibility of some NGOs failing to comply with new laws will make the struggle to protect civic spaces an even more challenging battle.

This law that was just passed will join the other laws such as the EPOCA, Political Parties Act and Cybercrime Act that have established clear boundaries and leave little room to hold the government accountable and to criticize it. Tope Ogundipe, Director of Programs at Paradigm Initiative continued, “We urge that proactive measures be taken to protect the existence of vibrant civil societies that play a role in creating peaceful and equal societies. We implore the government of Tanzania to ensure the stability and openness of democratic and civic spaces in Tanzania by respecting and protecting the role of civil society as a key player in the promotion of democratic ideals”.

Paradigm Initiative envoie une demande d'accès à l'information à la NCC sur les nouvelles dispositions de surveillance du Nigéria

Par | Droits numériques, Communiqué de presse

Paradigm Initiative has asked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide it with information on its role in Nigeria’s surveillance and interception programmes. Relying on the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the pan-African Digital Rights and Digital Inclusion organization is requesting information on the role the regulatory agency plays in enabling law enforcement in Nigeria to carry out communication surveillance and interception of communications in the discharge of their duties. 

In a copy of the request sent to NCC and seen by this media house, the organization has, among other requests, asked NCC to disclose what measures it has in place to ensure that government does not abuse communication surveillance and interception of communications to target political opponents and critics, among others. It also asked the Commission to disclose the regulatory framework under which communication surveillance and interception of communications is being carried out in Nigeria. 

Speaking on the request, Adeboye Adegoke, Program Manager, Digital Rights, Anglophone West Africa at Paradigm Initiative, says “this is not the first time Paradigm Initiative is engaging the Nigerian government on its communications surveillance and interception activities. Our goal remains to ensure that surveillance is accountable and transparent. We are equally excited by the prospects of technology to help law enforcement fight criminality, but we are at the same time wary of how such technology can serve as a tool in the hands of the incumbent to abuse citizens’ right to privacy or spy on the opposition and critics of government’’.

On what triggered this latest request, Paradigm Initiative’s Director of Programs, Tope Ogundipe, said, “In a Bill recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Government will henceforth allow foreign governments to spy on and intercept the communications of Nigerian citizens.” The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Law makes provision for Nigeria to assist foreign governments to carry out surveillance and intercept communications of suspects during criminal investigations. “The Nigerian Government can no longer deny it has the capacity to carry out communications surveillance and interception, it would be great to see what safeguards are in place around this, given the dangerous dimensions it can take”, Ogundipe concluded.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has seven days within which it must respond to the request according to the Freedom of Information Law 2011.

Paradigm Initiative exhorte l'Ethiopie à garder Internet active

Par | Communiqué de presse

For immediate release, June 24 2019


Lagos, Arusha


On the 22nd of June 2019, Ethiopia experienced an attempted coup against the administration in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region. The failed coup in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara regional state government led to four people being killed, including Ethiopia’s Army Chief of Staff and regional governor Ambachew Mekonnen. The Prime Minister confirmed this on a press conference on the 23rd June where he urged the nation to unite and assured them that the situation was under control.The shooting in Bahir Dar occurred when the state president was holding a meeting to decide how to stop the recruitment of ethnic Amhara militias by Asamnew. In a video spread on Facebook a week earlier and seen by a Reuters reporter Asamnew had advised the Amhara people to arm themselves in preparation for fighting against other groups.


Director of Programs, Paradigm Initiative, Tope Ogundipe stated, ‘’Prior to the attempted coup there was an internet shutdown from 11 June 2019’’. According to NetBlocks on 14 June, 4:00 p.m. UTC the internet was partially restored, however national connectivity was unstable. Network data showed that messaging apps like Telegram remained restricted as of Friday 21 with no explanation as to why. It was also reported that Ethiopia’s internet was largely disconnected from Saturday evening 22 June 2019 during procession of attempted coup. Paradigm Initiative’s Google Policy Fellow for Eastern Africa, Rebecca Ryaktimbo, noted ‘’This leaves much to be desired; that there’s possibly more to the shutdown than meets the eye at this precise time in the transformation process of Ethiopia’’.


Ethiopia is not new to internet shutdowns it has been common to experience shutdowns during uncertain times and school examination periods. However since the onset of the new administration efforts have been made to reform Ethiopia’s human rights scope. Among the attempts of this current regime is the privatisation of the Telecom industry which is dominated by a state owned Telecom company. Earlier this month, Ethiopia’s parliament approved a draft law that enables foreign companies to invest in the telecommunications industry of Africa’s second-most populous nation.The legislation establishes an independent communications regulator, accountable to the prime minister, that will be responsible for promoting competition.The new law also says that ownership of telecoms companies “shall be open without limitation to private investors including both domestic investors and foreign investors”.


Paradigm Initiative’s Google Policy Fellow for Eastern Africa, Rebecca Ryakitimbo added, ‘’Now more than ever the government of Ethiopia needs to keep the digital space open, at a time of rebuilding the democratic landscape of the nation’’. This includes freedom of expression and access to information. She continued, ”While governments may think that throttling and keeping a tight leash on the internet may help to control narratives during crisis, this is not the case in fact it does not only damage the economy but further destroys the people’s trust in the system.” The growing ecosystem of technology and innovation in Ethiopia is not the only party to face turbulence when the internet is shutdown more so the end users who are building businesses, relationships and finding their voices and communities of trust online are at the receiving end of the consequences of a shutdown.  


For more information on this release please contact

Paradigm Initiative’s media office via

L'initiative Paradigm condamne la perturbation d'Internet au Libéria

Par | Communiqué de presse

Abuja, Nigéria

7 juin 2019


L’initiative Paradigm a appris que les plateformes de médias sociaux populaires au Libéria, telles que Facebook, Twitter et Instagram, ont été bloquées et inaccessibles au Libéria.

Paradigm Initiative condamne expressément cet acte et déclare qu'il s'agit d'un affront à la liberté d'expression et de réunion, au sein d'autres libertés civiles appartenant aux citoyens et aux résidents du Libéria.

Les plates-formes auraient été bloquées en réaction aux manifestations antigouvernementales en cours dans la capitale, Monrovia. Les manifestations qualifiées de "Save The State" étaient contre le taux d'inflation élevé et la corruption dans le pays.

L'article 15 de la Constitution du Libéria de 1986 stipule que "Toute personne a droit à la liberté d'expression ..." et le fait de bloquer l'accès à Internet ou aux plateformes de médias sociaux pour une raison quelconque constitue une violation flagrante de la liberté d'expression des citoyens.

Le gouvernement du Libéria doit être conscient de la valeur, de la pertinence sociale, culturelle, éducative et économique de l'Internet. Les entreprises et les vies humaines prospèrent non seulement sur la communication, mais aussi sur les avantages procurés par les plates-formes de médias sociaux et Internet, et bloquer l'accès à ces réseaux revenait à agir avec tyran et à méconnaître les libertés des personnes. L'action du gouvernement libérien entraînera des conséquences juridiques et historiques graves et graves.

Par une action irrationnelle, le gouvernement du Libéria a réussi à violer ses citoyens et résidents de leurs droits de réunion pacifique, de la liberté d'expression, du droit d'apprendre, de leur droit d'accéder à Internet et des autres libertés et libertés liées à l'utilisation d'Internet. .

Par la présente, nous appelons le gouvernement libérien à rétablir l'accès à tous les services Internet perturbés et à faire respecter les droits fondamentaux de ses citoyens.

Pour plus d'informations sur cette publication, veuillez contacter le responsable des communications de Paradigm Initiative à l'adresse

Paradigm Initiative condamne la violation par NBC de la liberté de la presse au Nigeria

Par | Communiqué de presse

Abuja, Nigéria
7 juin 2019


Paradigm Initiative condamne avec véhémence l'action de la Commission nationale de la radiodiffusion visant à étouffer la liberté d'expression et la liberté de la presse en révoquant la licence de la chaîne de radiodiffusion AIT / RayPower pour des raisons clairement antidémocratiques.

La NBC affirme que ses rapports de surveillance révèlent que la station est inondée de contenus de nature à créer des divisions qui divisent les blogueurs et les médias sociaux. Mais ce que la Commission ne reconnaît pas et ne comprend pas, c'est que la presse est libre de dénoncer les expressions des citoyens, de la même manière que les citoyens ont la liberté d'exprimer leurs opinions, même si elles sont controversées.

Si une chaîne de radiodiffusion émet un avis exprimé par un tiers, en informe et en reçoit des commentaires, cette chaîne de radiodiffusion respecte bien ses droits et ses devoirs. Il est donc contraire à l'éthique et à un parti pris manifeste de la part de la Commission nationale de la radiodiffusion de révoquer la licence de AIT / RayPower pour ce motif.

La NBC se dit troublée par "la manière dont les questions relatives aux médias sociaux sont devenues une partie intégrante des médias traditionnels non édités sur AIT / RayPower ...", mais la Commission devrait savoir que les opinions des tiers ne peuvent et ne doivent pas être éditées ) en reportage. La préoccupation de la Commission est donc antithétique à la liberté d'expression.

Sous sa forme la plus fondamentale, la liberté d’expression et de la presse au Nigéria permet à toute personne d’exercer son droit à la liberté d’expression, y compris la liberté de se faire une opinion, de recevoir et de communiquer des idées et des informations sans entrave.

Des expressions telles que «le Nigéria m'irrite» ou «le Nigéria est maudit» peuvent ne pas être les expressions les plus agréables ou agréables. Mais ils restent des opinions exprimées par des personnes dans le cadre de leurs droits. Et qu'est-ce qu'une entité de radiodiffusion si elle ne peut pas rendre compte d'opinions, d'activités ou d'expression de citoyens?

Paradigm Initiative souhaite informer la CCBN que la révocation de la licence de l’un des rares canaux privés de radiodiffusion grand public, et pour des raisons confuses, sans fondement ni antidémocratie, laisse présager un parti pris de la part du régulateur. Par conséquent, nous recommandons que l'annulation de la commande contre AIT / RayPower et la suspension de la licence de Daar Communications soient rétablies et que la licence soit rétablie.

Les autorités du Cameroun doivent veiller au respect des droits du journaliste et du lanceur d'alerte Paul Chouta

Par | Communiqué de presse

Yaoundé 30 Mai 2019


Paradigm Initiative a appris avec beaucoup de regret la procédure arbitraire ayant conduit à l’arrestation et à la détention du lanceur d’alerte et journaliste Camerounais, Paul Chouta, le mardi 28 mai 2019.

Arrêté dans la nuit du mardi 28 mai 2019 au quartier Biyem-Assi  (Yaoundé) par six (06) policiers habillés en civil sur une plainte de l’écrivaine Callixte Beyala pour diffamation, le journaliste de l’un des sites d’information les plus  visités du pays, CamerounWeb, a été auditionné toute la journée d’hier mercredi et sera présenté devant la parquet le vendredi 31 mai 2019 selon la presse locale. Sa défense est assurée par Me Emmanuel Simh.

Paradigm Initiative souhaite porter à l’attention de l’opinion nationale et internationale que cette procédure d’arrestation qui s’apparente à un enlèvement est en violation des articles 31 et 118 (alinéas 1 et 2) du code de procédure pénale en vigueur au Cameroun.

Cette arrestation est par ailleurs, une atteinte grave à la liberté  d’expression en violation de la Constitution de 1996 et de la résolution adoptée en 2016 par la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples (CADHP)  qui impose aux Etats de “respecter et protéger le droit des citoyens à la liberté d’information et d’expression par l’accès aux services de l’Internet”.

Nous appelons les autorités camerounaises aux respects des droits de M. Paul Chouta en tant que citoyen et journaliste ainsi qu’au respect des procédures prévues par la loi pour lui permettre de s’expliquer sur les accusations portées à son encontre.


A propos de Paradigm Initiative

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.

Guinée: Initiative Paradigm prévient le gouvernement des effets négatifs des coupures d'Internet

Par | Communiqué de presse

Lomé, 30 Mai 2019

Paradigm Initiative est préoccupé par les dernières recommandations issues des ateliers régionaux préparatoires des examens nationaux session 2019 en Guinée qui préconisent l’interruption des réseaux sociaux durant plusieurs jours sur toute l’étendue du territoire.

La rencontre annuelle des cadres des structures centrales et déconcentrées, ainsi que des partenaires sociaux de l’éducation en marge des préparatifs des examens nationaux a préconisé entre autres mesures pour la tenue des examens de fin d’années dans de bonnes conditions, l’interruption des réseaux sociaux ( messenger, Imo, WhatsApp, Facebook, viber et Instagram ) de 9h à 16h jusqu’à la fin des évaluations.

Cette recommandation faite au ministre de l’enseignement par les participants de la rencontre annuelle tenue à Mamou risque de restreindre la liberté d’expression à des millions d’internautes guinéens en violation de la Constitution du pays ainsi qu’à la résolution adoptée en 2016 par la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuple (CADHP) dont le Guinée est Etat partie.

Au-delà, cette restriction pourrait avoir des répercussions économiques sérieuses sur l’économique guinéenne comme ce fut le cas dans d’autres pays comme la République Démocratique du Congo en 2017 ou au Tchad en 2016.

Les restrictions d’Internet observés dans ces pays ont occasionné des pertes estimées respectivement à 46 millions de dollars (environ plus de 27 milliards de FCFA) et à 18 millions d’euros (environ 13 milliards de FCFA).

Paradigm Initiative, exhorte les autorités guinéennes au respect des engagements juridiques auxquels elles ont souscrites en évitant une coupure d’Internet et/ou des réseaux sociaux qui serait à tous points préjudiciables au peuple guinéen.

A propos de Paradigm Initiative

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.

# DRIF19: Les délégués appellent à une action renouvelée pour protéger les droits numériques en Afrique

Par | Plaidoyer, Communiqué de presse

Delegates at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum have expressed concern at the spate of violation of human rights online on the African continent, calling for renewed action to protect the digital space from rights violations.

The delegates were speaking at the 3-day Forum which held in Lagos, Nigeria, from April 23-25 and welcomed delegates and speakers from across Africa and beyond. The Forum provides a platform for conversations on efforts to ensure human rights online are not violated and that more people in Africa are connected to the internet.

Anriette Esterhuysen, the former executive director of the Association for Progressive Communications, in her submission, argued that the internet has to be protected and remain open as “it is the usually the only means of expression for some minority groups to access information on issues that are not openly discussed.”

Grace Githaiga, the co-convener of KICKTANET said, despite the challenges facing the digital rights space on the continent including internet shutdown, harassment of internet users and online journalists, and lack of data protection laws in many countries, “advocates should celebrate the positive- good laws, initiatives, and partners that allow us to meet and remaining optimistic of a better future.”

This came on the backdrop of conversation on internet censorship that has rocked the continent over the last few years. Africa now leads with the highest number of countries shutting down the internet or restricting service. In Chad, for example, social media has been shut down by the government for over a year now. In 2019 alone, Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe and DR Congo have either shut down the internet or restricted access to services.

Speaking on the challenges facing efforts to improve internet penetration, Funke Opeke, the chief executive of MainOne Cable, emphasised the need for government to partner the private sector instead of constituting itself as a stumbling block to expand internet access. She said governments in other climes “create the right incentives and structures to facilitate access to the internet, especially in the rural areas. Dr Ernest Ndukwe, a former chief executive of the Nigerian Communication Commission, also urged civil society and active citizens “to focus more attention on what government can do to ensure people have access.”

The Forum also explored the state of data protection and privacy laws on the continent. Ephraim Kenyanito of Article 19 and Morisola Alaba of Media Rights Agenda, while speaking on the new 5G technology, said there was an urgent need to have data privacy legislation as the technology made its way to the continent, saying the technical capabilities of 5G could allow for greater surveillance capacities for repressive governments.

The tone for the Forum was set by the Opening Panel which was moderated by ‘Gbenga Sesan, the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative and featured Hawa Ba, the Head of Senegal Office of Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Segun Mausi, Head of Africa division at Human Rights Watch, and a Emmanuella Darkwah who was representing Ghana’s National Security Advisor.

The Panel explored the centrality of human rights to modern society and the need to dedicate resources and attention to the protection of human rights. Hawa Ba highlighted the crucial role the internet has played in public education and mobilisation in Senegal and said it was important to ensure the internet remained an open and safe platform. Mausi Segun said all internet users have a duty to fight for the protection of digital rights and to make sure their government enables internet access for more citizens.

While according to Ghana’s Emmanuella Darkwah, Ghana was working on “ensuring internet and digital rights are encompassed in future laws” and, to among things, “make internet shutdown impossible in the country.”

Delegates from

 Togo, Chad and Cameroon bemoaned the ease with which their governments shut down the internet and specific internet services. In Chad, a delegate reported, social media platforms have been unavailable for over a year now, making life unnecessarily harder for the people of the country.

In his closing remarks, ‘Gbenga Sesan urged delegates to go back to their countries with a renewed energy to contribute to efforts to keep the internet safe and open to all users, saying “digital rights advocates are in the business of not minding our businesses. We have no choice but to be involved in efforts that help protect the internet, and to resist action that endangers human rights online.”

#DRIF19 is the seventh edition of the Forum which is convened annually to provide an “important platform where conversations on digital policy in Africa are shaped, and policy directions forged.” The Forum, organised by Paradigm Initiative and supported by Google, Ford Foundation, and Heinrich Böll Stiftung, welcomed delegates from 38 countries.


Pour plus d'informations sur cette déclaration, veuillez envoyer un mail à 

Paradigm Initiative condamne l'arrestation et la déportation de Wakabi par les autorités tanzaniennes

Par | Communiqué de presse, Non classé

Paradigm Initiative condamne l'arrestation, la détention et l'expulsion ultérieure du directeur exécutif de la Collaboration sur les politiques internationales en matière de TIC pour l’Afrique de l’Est et australe (CIPESA), Dr Wairagala Wakabi par les autorités tanzaniennes.

Le Dr Wakabi a été arrêté, détenu et détenu à son arrivée en Tanzanie hier, le 25 avril. Selon un déclaration publiée par la CIPESALe Dr Wakabi était en Tanzanie pour participer à la commémoration annuelle de la Journée des défenseurs des droits de l'homme en Tanzanie à l'invitation de la Coalition des défenseurs des droits de l'homme en Tanzanie (THRDC). Dr Wakabi est un défenseur des droits de l'homme et chercheur de renom. Nous estimons que son traitement inacceptable en Tanzanie est une indication supplémentaire de l'attitude de plus en plus hostile de la Tanzanie à l'égard de la communauté des droits de l'homme.

Ce n'est pas la première fois que la Tanzanie maltraite des défenseurs des droits de l'homme. En novembre 2018, le Comité pour la protection des journalistes La coordinatrice du programme pour l'Afrique, Angela Quintal, et le représentant de l'Afrique sub-saharienne, Muthoki Mumowere, ont été arrêtés, détenus et expulsés du pays avec la fausse affirmation selon laquelle le duo se trouvait en Tanzanie sans visa approprié. Avocats pour les droits de l'homme (LHR) s’était déjà inquiété de l’arrestation de 11 autres militants des droits de l’homme en Tanzanie. La police tanzanienne a accusé d'avoir participé à une réunion de consultation juridique organisée par l'Initiative pour un litige stratégique en Afrique (Isla) et les services de santé communautaires et de plaidoyer (Chesa) à Dar es Salaam. 

L'agression continue contre des militants et des militants est inacceptable et nous appelons l'Union africaine et d'autres organismes régionaux à convaincre le gouvernement tanzanien de respecter les droits fondamentaux de ses citoyens et de ses invités. Paradigm Initiative demande au gouvernement de s’attaquer immédiatement à son traitement honteux du Dr Wakabi. Le gouvernement a tout intérêt à reconnaître les défenseurs des droits de l'homme en tant que parties prenantes viables dans les espaces démocratiques et à ce que les espaces civiques soient un prolongement naturel de la communauté qui doit être entretenu et non détruit.

Un forum sur les droits numériques et l'inclusion accueillera des délégués de 38 pays à Lagos

Par | Droits numériques, Communiqué de presse

The seventh edition of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) will host delegates from 38 countries to deliberate on issues confronting the digital space in Africa. This is according to a press statement by Paradigm Initiative, the organiser of the conference of the 3-day conference. The Forum took off today in Lagos and will run until Thursday, April 25.

According to the statement, DRIF19 will welcome delegates from civil society, academia, media, technical community, government- including security agencies, judiciary, and legislature, and the private sector, from 32 countries in Africa, and 6 countries outside the continent. The Forum will also be live-streamed to a global online audience here, while those interested in monitoring conversations at the Forum can follow its hashtag, #DRIF19.

According to Tope Ogundipe, Paradigm Initiative’s Director of Programs, “formerly known as the Internet Freedom Forum, DRIF has become well known for its track record of tangible actionable outcomes and has gained a reputation as an important platform where conversations on digital policy in Africa are shaped, and policy directions forged. The broad categories of participants expected are state actors, civil society organizations, academia, human rights activists, technology entrepreneurs, gender activists, as well as policy enthusiasts and actors within the global internet governance space.”

DRIF features engaging conversations which draw on globally relevant issues, as well as Africa-specific challenges and opportunities. Panellists and participants are drawn based on a multi-stakeholder model, allowing stakeholders who have hitherto operated in silos to talk to one other about common challenges.

“For the first time, the Forum this year will focus considerably on digital inclusion conversations as the basis for digital rights, on a continent where internet penetration is lowest and the opportunities which ICTs provide remain elusive to many. This year’s edition will also feature more side sessions, allow for bilingual communication and participation as it has done since 2017, and encourage post-event collaborations to further strengthen the discourse of Internet Freedom in Africa,” Ogundipe added.

Speakers expected at the conference include Albert Antwi Boasiako, Ghana’s National Cybersecurity Advisor, Segun Mausi, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch Africa Division, Hawa Ba, Head of the Senegal Country Office, Open Society for West Africa, and Lanre Osibona, Special Advisor on ICT to the President of Nigeria. Others are Dr Ernest Ndukwe, former Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Robert Muthuri of Strathmore University, and Onica Makwakwa, A4AI Africa Regional Coordinator

The Forum is expected to refocus attention on issues confronting the digital space on a continent where human rights online are routinely violated.

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