Digital rights are closely linked to freedom of expression and privacy as they allow people to access, use, create and publish media online.
As digital technologies continue to transform the way in which basic rights such as freedom of expression and access to information are exercised, it is leaving a trail of a new era of access to online information and assets. These online assets then call for a proper and laid down strategy of protection.
During the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum 2021, a call was placed to secure the digital space.
Speaking at the virtual opening event on 12 April 2021 hosted by Paradigm Initiative (PIN), ‘Gbenga Sesan, the Executive Director at PIN noted that there has been human rights violation and disruption across Africa, urging delegates to embrace the need to harness expertise across the continent and defend digital rights.
“Let us join efforts in working tirelessly to overcome any violations of human rights, especially the digital ones,” he added.
At a different session, Sesan elaborated that the absence of data privacy and protection laws and data governance frameworks as widespread in Africa paves way for the illegal and blanket surveillance, internet shutdowns, and other rights violations all which impact negatively on democracy and the economic development of a country.
Digital rights are just as important as other human rights as the digital space has become an important centre for economic activities, access to emergency services and platform for exercising freedom of speech and free press.
Sesan spoke during the launch of LONDA, a Digital Rights and Inclusion Report carried out in 20 African countries.
LONDA Zulu for shielding and protecting, enshrines the critical digital rights concerns in Africa as exposed by the global pandemic. The major issues being access to internet and online assets, technical skills and digital inclusion or the lack of it.
Other concerns also addressed by the report include COVID-19 surveillance and data violation, impunity, LGBT rights online, and the rights to assistive digital tech for persons with disabilities.The report also recommends that governments and stakeholders should protect COVID-19 data and human rights online.
Visit this LINK to read the entire report
By Molly Wasonga | Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Rights and Iinclusion Medkia Fellow 2021