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AIRA MONTHLY BULLETIN (SEPTEMBER)

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Paradigm Initiative

 On 1st September, 2021 Paradigm Initiative welcomed the 2nd cohort of their Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship (DRIMF) Fellows. DRIMF is a 4-month program that runs twice a year and is designed to immerse outstanding early-career journalists in the digital ecosystem. Read more about it here. The Fellows are drawn from Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, UgandOver the next four months, these four media professionals will work with Paradigm Initiative on various projects and contribute to improving public understanding of digital rights and inclusion issues in Africa.



Paradigm Initiative on 6th September, 2021 hosted an Artificial Intelligence Virtual Stakeholder Consultative Forum in Kenya. This forum is part of a project to influence the consideration of human rights in Artificial Intelligence processes in Africa - at national and regional levels. The Forum agreed that governments should work to ensure that at all levels, learners are kept at par with the advancements in AI and tech generally. Data should also be regularly collected to track the extent to which Artificial intelligence advancements are affecting jobs.



On 13th September 2021 Paradigm Initiative alongside Enough is Enough Nigeria, Media Rights Agenda, and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) Nigeria convened the ‘100 Days Twitter Ban Commemoration Press Conference’. Read the Press Statement here. The groups reiterated their positions in pursuing the various suits filed against the federal government; ensuring that the voices of Nigerians are heard and encouraging the citizenry to stand their ground in exercising their rights, as upheld by the Nigerian constitution.



Tech Hive Advisory and Paradigm Initiative are conducting a survey on public perception of privacy and data protection as part of research on the effectiveness of the data protection framework in Nigeria. The survey seeks public opinion on the protection of personal information, rights as a data subject, and the effectiveness of the existing legal framework.



As part of Paradigm Initiative's mission to improve the livelihoods of underserved youths across Africa, they launched a new office in Thies, Senegal, between 20th-23rd September 2021. Read the news brief here or watch the full sessions here. The launch included a number of activities including a Digital Rights Academy Workshop focused on assessing the stakes of Digital Rights within francophone Africa and impacting the participants with the right tools and skill set to address digital rights issues. 



Upcoming Activities:

Paradigm Initiative kicked off pre-premiere activities for their new short film 'Focus'. Focus portrays the real-life cost of apathy shown by African citizens towards the actions of elected officials who are exploiting policies and other underhand and illegal tools to constrict civic spaces and crackdown on free speech. It is based on Paradigm Initiative’s 2020 Digital Rights and Inclusion in Africa Report 2020. The film is set to premiere in Nigeria on the 14th of October 2021.



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CIPESA

On 28th-30th September 2021, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) successfully hosted the eighth edition of the annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica). The Forum provided a platform for participants to dissect and deliberate topics shaping the digital rights agenda on the continent and other parts of the world. The Forum had 3 key themes, Access to Information, Digital Inclusion, and Key Trends shaping digital rights in Africa.

The organizations that participated in FIFAfrica 2021 include KICTANet, Paradigm Initiative, IFEX, Global Network Initiative, Access Now, The Africa Internet Rights Alliance (AIRA).



Upcoming Activities:

On Saturday 2nd October, CIPESA shall co-host the Data Protection and Privacy Policy Forum. The online session shall question and discuss like Who processes our data? How it is used? Whether data subjects are consulted before it is processed. The need for policies & frameworks to protect sensitive data.



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KICTANet

On 23rd September 2021, KICTANet successfully held the Kenya Internet Governance Forum – 2021 under the theme ‘Internet United’ and was primed to enhance the universal access of the internet thereby reducing digital exclusion. Read the report of the event here. The Forum discussed a number of issues including emerging regulation of content, data and consumer rights, inclusion, universal access and meaningful connectivity, Elections, data and technology, trust, security, and stability. The attendees represented various sectors including government, the private sector, civil society, the technical and academic community, and the general public.



KICTAnet also held a youth IGF, a Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG), and a donors and partners round table as part of the Kenya IGF week.

Upcoming Activities:

KICTANet continues to monitor Key trends in Kenya and engage with policymakers for enabling digital rights policy and legislation.

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ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa

ARTICLE 19 in collaboration with the Commission on Administrative Justice and the County Assemblies' Forum in Kenya, conducted a 5-day training for county assemblies' officers on access to information at the Technical University of Mombasa.



ARTICLE 19 made a submission to the Minister of Information, Culture and Sports of Tanzania calling for their repeal in the entirety of the online content regulations & draft amendments which continue to infringe on the right to freedom of expression. The draft Electronic and Postal Communications (Onlie Content) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 (2021 Amendment Regulations) were introduced in August 2021. The Regulations restrict online content in overly broad terms, impose confusing registration or licensing requirements that are in breach of international standards on freedom of expression and with the Tanzanian Constitution. Read the full regulations here.



22nd September was the day of the 2nd reading of the Kenya Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes (Amendment) Bill, 2021. ARTICLE 19 published on their website reasons why the Members of Parliament should reject it. Read the memorandum here. The memorandum highlights that the law contains legally uncertain and unenforceable definitions, overly punitive sanctions, and will lead to a breach of the right to privacy during enforcement. It recommends the withdrawal of the law in its entirety and initiation of meaningful consultations with a diverse and representative group of stakeholders to align the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018 with national and international law and standards.



Upcoming Activities:

Article 19 Eastern Africa continues to safeguard freedom of expression and information and to create solidarity networks aimed at achieving this goal.



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CC-HUB/I-HUB

Co-creation Hub/I-hub Digital Security Team launched the Cybersecurity Academy in Nigeria and Kenya. The academy will be focused on refining raw, technical talents in cybersecurity. Applications are now open in Nigeria and Kenya for our very first cohort. Apply and learn more about the academy here.



On 27th September, the September episode of EdTech Mondays Nigeria premiered. This episode discussed 'EdTech for The Future of Work'. Watch it here. EdTech Mondays is a Programme organized by the Mastercard Foundation and provides a platform to facilitate critical conversations amongst key stakeholders on the use of technology for teaching and learning The panelists consisted of Adeboye Adegoke, the Senior Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative, Precious Ajoonu, Head, Youth Engagement and Learning at Jobberman Nigeria, and Ukinedo Dare, the Managing Director of the Edo State Skills Development Agency.



Upcoming Activities:

Co-creation Hub/I-hub in collaboration with Facebook is organizing the Design for Epidemiology Challenge, a Hackathon looking for innovative ideas from startups in Nigeria that are using data for public health. The Design for Epidemiology is a collaborative and innovative challenge exploring the use of Facebook technologies (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) and data for disease surveillance, monitoring, and detection in Nigeria.



Co-creation Hub/I-hub is searching for entrepreneurs working across all sub-sectors in Africa to share their views on the priorities, opportunities, trends, and challenges for e-commerce entrepreneurs and businesses in the AfCFTA One African Market. The main findings of this study will help inform solutions for African cross-border e-commerce. Read about the survey here.

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    Legal Resources Centre ( LRC)

    Legal Resources Centre hosted a virtual workshop titled; “The Right to Protest: Guidelines on Freedom of Expression and Assembly”. At this workshop, Legal Resources Centre presented a toolkit on the right to freedom of association and assembly in South Africa'.

    

    The South Africa education system is in crisis. Legal Resources Centre recommended 6 steps for The Department of Basic Education to take to decisively ensure that access to education is uninterrupted, and learners get back into the classroom to learn. See the recommendations here.

    

    UpcomingActivities:

    Legal Resources Centre from 13-14 October shall host sessions online to reflect on how social justice has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. You can register here. Participation is free.

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      Amnesty International- Kenya

      Amnesty International Kenya, People’s Health Movement Kenya, and Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union participated in the National Health Conference. The conference discussed the state of healthcare during a pandemic, on Friday 17 September, 2021. Watch the conference here. The speakers noted that the government has learned the lesson of self-reliance. The ministry of health remains worried by the fatigue on compliance with public health measures and the resumption of public rallies by the political class puts the COVID-19 management at risk and lays the ground for a lethal 5th wave. That the national government must ensure that county governments are allocated at least 15% of the national budget to allow at least 50% of the county budgets to be assigned to health.

      UpcomingActivities:

      Amnesty International Kenya will host a CSOs roundtable on Data Protection and the 2022 General Elections on the 6th of October, 2021 at the Sarova Stanley Hotel, Nairobi. Look out for more details at the website here.

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        BudgIT

        BudgIT celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The event featured launches of activities to celebrate a decade of civic innovation and impact. Check out the 10th-anniversary website. Exciting activities like BudgIT’s Anniversary Lecture and Awards Ceremony and the unveiling of BudgIT’s land and Anniversary Hackathon were organized.

        UpcomingActivities:

        BudgIT continues to work on using digital tools to advance accountability at national local levels. Activities will continue in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Ghana.

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            CIPIT

            CIPIT was nominated for a Good ID Award in the Privacy category. The awards aim to recognize dedicated, progressive, and impactful work to improve digital identity for all. Nominees are divided into 4 categories, depending on how they reflect; Accountability, Inclusion, Privacy, and Security. See details here.


            UpcomingActivities:

            Don’t miss the 3rd Privacy Symposium Africa is from 3rd to 5th November 2021 on Data Protection. The event is organized by Unwanted Witnesses and NITA Uganda. CIPIT’s Grace Mutung'u will be one of the speakers at the event. Register here.

            CIPIT'S Journal of Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (JIPIT) welcomes submissions for its 2021/2022 volume. Topics in the field of Intellectual Property, Information Technology, and Artificial Intelligence are especially encouraged. The submissions should address developments in the Global South. Journal articles, legislative commentaries, and case reviews are accepted. The deadline is 31 December 2021.

            All submissions and inquiries should be emailed here. For more information kindly visit https://journal.strathmore.edu....


            Member’s Publications

            CIPESA published a report titled the State of Internet Freedom in Africa 2021. This report focused on How State Surveillance is Stifling Democratic Participation in Africa. Read the report here.


            KICTAnet published a guidebook for women who are beginners in the digital space. The guide covers blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and the use of social media. It gives tips on how to be a better storyteller, identifies audiences, and how to monetize platforms. It also explains some of the tools that can be used for social media planning and content management aimed at helping content creators sharpen their skills and better navigate the storytelling platform(s). Read the book here.


            Article 19 on 7th September published its 2020 Annual Report that highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on freedom of expression in the region during the year 2020. Read the full report here. The report notes that ost countries in the region used the pandemic to silence and infringe the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, leading to the majority of citizens transitioning to online protests. Authorities also used the pandemic to suppress access to information and interfere with the online rights of groups and individuals by shutting down the internet. This was particularly evident in countries where elections were held, such as Burundi, Somalia and Tanzania.


            BudgIT released the “2020 NNPC Annual Performance Review”. This document examines the impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation operations & performance, along with the inflow of investment into the oil fields in Nigeria. Read the report here.


            On 22nd September 2021 CIPIT published an article titled AI in the Judicial System: Possible uses and Ethical Considerations. Read the article here. The article notes that ongoing digital transformations suggest that the adoption of AI technologies is inevitable. AI is here to stay, as such it will be imperative to ensure that while acknowledging all the benefits it presents, consideration is given to the challenges its use presents particularly when used in the judicial system.

          AIRA Activities:

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            At the Bi-Monthly Teleconference on 20th September, the AIRA community expanded its membership to include POLLICY. Here is a link to a video with pollicy’Sprofile: video profile here.


            On 28th September, AIRA hosted a session FIFAfrica 2021. The session was a panel discussion on Public Participation in Digital Policymaking Processes in Africa. The panel was moderated by Fatoba Iyanuoluwa from BudgIT and Victor Kapiyo (KICTAnet), Ephraim Percy Kenyanito (ARTICLE 19), Lillian Nalwoga (CIPESA), and Ekai Nabenyo as panelists. Watch a video of the event here.

          

          Developments on the Continent:

            KENYA: GOVT TO TRACK ROGUE SOCIAL MEDIA USERS AHEAD OF 2022

            The government, through the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), has established a unit to monitor and track hate speech on social media platforms ahead of the 2022 General Election. The main responsibility of the established unit will be tracing people spreading hate speech on various social media platforms as the country nears the 2022 General election.

            Source: Kenyans.co.ke

            TWITTER TESTS SAFETY MODE TO BLOCK INTERNET TROLLS:

            Twitter on Wednesday announced that it is testing a new feature that automatically blocks hateful messages, as the US site comes under increasing pressure to protect its users from online abuse. Users who activate the new Safety Mode will see their "mentions" filtered for seven days so that they don't see messages flagged as likely to contain hate speech or insults.

            Source: The Citizen

            LESOTHO PARLIAMENT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS RESCISSION OF THE CONTROVERSIAL CYBERSECURITY BILL, SIM & MOBILE DEVICE REGULATIONS

            Lesotho Parliament’s Portfolio Committee made recommendations to dismiss the Computer Crime and Cybersecurity Bill of 2021, as well as the Communications (Subscriber Identity Module and Mobile Device Registration) Regulations of 2021. They recommended that the Minister of Communications, Science, and Technology revisit the controversial draft legislation. They noted that no consultations were conducted with stakeholders and yet it is a constitutional requirement for the government to conduct public consultations when promulgating pieces of legislation.

            Source: MISA

            UGANDAN MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT URGE GOVERNMENT TO LIFT THE BAN ON FACEBOOK AND WIDEN PHONE COVERAGE’

            Members of Parliament in Uganda expressed concern about the prolonged ban of Facebook in Uganda. They also expressed are concerned that at the time when Covid-19 has pushed the world to working and studying at home, many areas in Uganda are not connected to the internet, radio and phone networks. MPs raised these concerns while reacting to a statement by the Minister of Information, Communications, Technology and National Guidance, on the status of the quality of communication services.The minister said his ministry is working on a project aimed at widening network coverage, with a plan to install additional masts in rural areas and other alternative internet connections such as installing fibers in premises.

            Source: The Independent


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