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AIRA MONTHLY BULLETIN (AUGUST)

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Paradigm Initiative



1. Paradigm Initiative in Collaboration with Citizens Gavel filed a suit for fundamental rights against the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The case is seeking perpetual injunctions restraining the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents from restricting access or taking any action that prevents access to Twitter in Nigeria or arresting, prosecuting, detaining or taking any legal action against entities and individuals that help citizens to stay connected to Twitter. The matter is slated for hearing on Monday, 25th October 2021.



2. Enough is Enough ( EIE) Nigeria as the sole applicant coordinating with other organizations including Paradigm Initiative and Media Rights Agenda, have instituted a class action suit in the Federal High Court of Abuja, Nigeria, against Telecommunications companies MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile for enforcement of fundamental rights. The suit calls for a declaration that the respondents’ blockage of twitter access was unlawful, unconstitutional and against the rights to freedom of expression. The case also seeks an injunction restraining all respondents from restraining, blocking or interfering with Twitter and any other social media platform.



3. On 11th August, PIN in partnership with Digital Shelter held the 2021 Somalia Stakeholders Convening on Digital Rights Legislation. The 2021 stakeholders convening brought together diverse members of the public & private sector, CSOs & academics in 🇸🇴 to draw on lessons from other East African countries as far as digital rights, legal & institutional frameworks are concerned. The event, that assessed the current state of digital rights and digital inclusion in the country highlighted the irony of talking about digital rights in Somalia when people are not connected to the internet and the government is interfering in the space by weaponizing and censoring the internet. It also noted the prevalent cyber-attacks towards journalists by organised tech bandits as a worrying trend that needs to be addressed. 

Upcoming Activities:
Paradigm Initiative will hold the 9th edition of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) virtually from 12 – 14 April 2022, under the theme ‘Towards a Digitally Inclusive and Rights Respecting Africa.’ The due date for session proposals is 28 August 2021 and successful session proposals will be notified by 28 September 2021. The call for participants will be published by 10 January 2022. Complete your application here.



Paradigm Initiative shall on Monday, September 6th, 2021 from 1400Hrs - 1600 EAT host a virtual Stakeholder Engagement Forum, to discuss Human Rights with regard to Artificial Intelligence. Register here.



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CIPESA

1. Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) is regularly tracking various trends in digital rights and Covid-19 implications in Africa. You can find the tracker here Digital Rights Tracker



2. CIPESA has shared an update of its key activities for the last six months( January to June 2021) here News Letter.  The newsletter highlights key challenges to civic space including deteriorating respect for civil and political rights and retrogressive state responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.



3. CIPESA on August 25th and 26th 2021, conducted training on 25th and 26th August 2021 in the nuts and bolts of digital rights advocacy. The training targeted human rights defenders, academics, media, activists, technologists, and private sector actors from Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Upcoming Activities:

On September 28-30, 2021, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) will host the eighth edition of the annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica). You can host a session (panel discussion/ workshop/ training in any particular area of interest you would or contact CIPESA directly if you have an alternative approach you would like to discuss further.

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KICTANet



On 11th August 2021, KICTANet launched itsPublic Participation Policy Brief that assessed the extent to which the public participated in three recent ICT policy and law-making processes: the National Information Communications and Technology (ICT) Policy, 2019, the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018, and the Data Protection Act, 2019. The meeting provided a platform for discussion, information sharing, and strategic thinking on implementing public participation in the ICT sector. At a discussion during the launch, participants noted that: public participation in the development of the  ICT policy process scored the highest because it was very multi stakeholder-driven, and there was a very deliberate bottom-up approach that was taken. On the other hand, the lowest score was participation in the cybercrime laws because the process was disjointed, with different government agencies developing different bills and regulations on cybersecurity as well as on cybercrime.

Upcoming Activities:

From the 20th to- 22nd of September 2021, KICTANet shall host the Kenya School of Internet Governance( KeSIG) that aims to introduce participants to basic concepts in internet policymaking. The KeSIG will be followed by the Kenya Internet Governance Forum 2021 Internet Governance Forum on 23rd September 2021, under the theme "Internet United". The Forum is an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder forum where public policy and development are discussed.

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ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa



1. ARTICLE 19 published an article titled Kenya: Excessive defamation damages violate the right to media freedom. The article speaks out against the worrying trend in Kenya where courts are issuing exorbitant damages in civil suits against media organizations and individual journalists. In the article, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa cautions that such judgments are threatening the sustainability of media in Kenya and that this is critical as the 2022 election approaches. ARTICLE 19 cautions that politicians and individuals may be inspired by such judgments to institute civil defamation suits to stifle the media’s reporting on matters of public interest and political discourse. 



2. In a joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council for South Sudan’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa and Free Press Unlimited expressed concern about the limited improvements in the human rights situation in South Sudan in the period between November 2016 to July 2021.  The submission highlights that freedom of expression and media freedom remains shackled by the continued censorship of journalists and citizens by the government of South Sudan. 



3. ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa published an article expressing concern over the provisions in the draft Data Protection (General) Regulations 2021 (draft (General) Regulations), as well as the existence of significant gaps in the draft (General) regulations in Kenya. The article notes that the provisions risk impacting media freedom and the right to access information in Kenya, and urges the Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology, Innovation and Youth Affairs (ICT Ministry) and the Office of the Data Commissioner (ODPC) to amend these provisions.



4. ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Published an article calling for greater transparency in Facebook’s content moderation and reporting processes in Sudan and Ethiopia in 2021. The article cites Facebook’s ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report’  that details its take-down of accounts being used to ‘manipulate public debate.’ According to the report, accounts from seven countries, including Sudan and Ethiopia, were taken down. ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa emphasizes that Facebook’s transparency reporting must be comprehensive, especially where highly restrictive sanctions such as permanent removal have been applied.



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CC-HUB/I-HUB



CC-Hub/I-Hub are looking for innovative ideas from startups in the Epidemiology space. 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. The hackathon challenge is a call for innovative ideas from startups working in the field of Epidemiology in Nigeria. Sign up here.

The CcHUB Syndicate organized a webinar that will discuss ‘Funding Gaps in the African Tech Ecosystem’. The webinar will address the challenges and experiences in building technology ecosystems with the aim of attracting funds to African startups.



Upcoming Activities:

CcHUB made a call for GoVote Champions and community leaders to drive voter education and election awareness campaigns in your community of influence – whether offline or online. Sign up for it here.

The British Council in collaboration with CcHUB has designed the Innovation for African Universities (IAU) project to foster the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within universities. Find out more/sign up for the project here.

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    Legal Resources Centre ( LRC)

    

    On 5th August, LRC issued a statement condemning hateful and offensive comments made towards an Advocate in a Constitutional Court hearing on a matter regarding the recognition of Muslim Marriages in South Africa. The derogatory comments made against counsel representing the Women’s Legal Centre Trust were hurtful and undermining and made a mockery of Muslim women who choose to dress in line with their religious beliefs. Read the full statement here.

    

    LRC has compiled a multilingual handbook on domestic violence and the legal protections available to women who are survivors and victims of domestic violence. The book is titled Domestic Violence and Protection Brochure 2021 and can be found  here

    UpcomingActivities:

        LRC shall host a virtual workshop on, 2nd and 9th September on the right to protest. They will also present on a toolkit with information for organizations, students, activists, or anyone who wishes to partake in protests. Register here. This will be followed by another one at the end of September on torture and trade in the tools of torture.

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      Amnesty International- Kenya

      

      1. On 4th August, the 60th anniversary of Amnesty International, Amnesty International Kenya hosted a forum on the role of the police in enabling survivors and victims of gender-based violence to access justice in Kenya and South Africa. They called for government funding and run shelters, continuous training of police, and more simplified methods of filing complaints. 

      

      2. Amnesty Kenya published a report titled Parents Have Key Role In Protecting Children From The Ugly Side Of Internet. The report references studies indicating that children and adolescents under 18 account for one-third of Internet users around the world and recommends that present should delay access to social media as much as possible. And when access is allowed, they should limit the time children access social media and online games; create family accounts instead of children having private accounts, and ensure that children spend time doing other activities that are not online.

      

      3. Amnesty Kenya reintroduced their podcast titledStripped down. Stripped Down is Amnesty International Kenya’s podcast that aims to demystify human rights issues by having simple but powerful conversations. The title, Stripped Down, has a double meaning. When human rights violations occur, victims are stripped of their dignity. The term Stripped Down also means dissecting an issue and reduce it to the essentials.

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      BudgIT

      

      1. BudgIT published their latest research document that reviewed Nigeria’s fiscal policy responses and data sources for tracking policy implementation at the federal and state levels. The report noted that data availability on fiscal policies is a crucial starting point for blocking leakages of public funds.

      

      3. BudgIT held a podcast that discussed COVID-19 fund management, government responsiveness, and vaccine distribution in Africa. Listen in on the podcast here.

      

      4. On 16th August, BudgIT’s latest podcast brought together two Senior Research Analysts to examine the revenue capacity of oil-producing states in Nigeria, independent of FAAC allocation and 13% derivation. Listen here.

      

      5. BudgIT launchedhttp://govspend.ng, a comprehensive portal that provides citizens, Civil Society Organisations & the media access to visualized & simplified data from Nigeria Government’s Open Treasury Portal. This platform helps you monitor FG’s treasury reports & real-time expenses.

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        CIPIT


        1) CIPIT is honored to have been nominated for this year’s #GoodID awards in the privacy category. CIPIT's Research Fellow, Grace Mutung'u, has been nominated in the accountability category. Cast your vote in the GoodID Awards between now & September 30 to help choose the 2021 Community Champions: www.good-id.org/en/awards/2021/


        2) To allow more authors to send high-quality work, CIPIT has extended the deadline for both the junior & professional writing prizes to 29th October 2021. More details about the prizes can be found on our website here https://cipit.strathmore.edu/opportunities/.


        3) 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 to [email protected] For more information kindly visit https://journal.strathmore.edu/index.php/jipit/about/submissions.

        Member’s Publications

        PIN published a report titled “GDI Report: Media Market Risk Ratings – Nigeria”. The report provides insights on Nigeria's standing in the digital media market, noting that trends toward internet access via mobile devices also have implications for the type and quality of news consumed by the Nigerian population.

      AIRA Activities:

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        On 24th August, AIRA hosted the second edition of the AIRA Talk under the theme “Advancing Digital Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, Lessons from CSOs and Private Sector.” The event featured experts who have worked to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Africa from both the private sector and civil society. These included Dr. Debra Ralista from Inclusive Tech Group, Paul Kimumwe from CIPESA Karen Smit from Vodacom, and Tim Dagori from Cc-Hub/I-Hub as moderator. The following issues emerged:

        • Discussion between stakeholders is necessary in bridging the digital inclusion gap, as well as research and documentation of what is happening.

        • It is very important for Africa as a continent to have conversations on digital inclusion for Persons With Disabilities. That way, we learn from each other, hear from each other, and we will be able to not let anybody stay behind.

        • We must provide equitable access to technology for Persons With Disabilities in Africa to reduce the digital access gap

      

      

      Some Key Stories from Africa in AUGUST

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        NIGERIA TO REVERSE TWITTER BAN SOON AS TALKS PROGRESS – OFFICIAL

        The Nigerian government has indicated that the indefinite ban on Twitter may be lifted soon. The Minister of Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, said on Wednesday that though talks were still ongoing with Twitter, many agreements had been reached. The areas still pending include Twitter setting up an office in Nigeria and having a Twitter staff of management cadre as the country representative. He said though Twitter had agreed to establish an office in Nigeria, the social media platform said it cannot do so until 2022. Mr Mohammed said he believes the grey areas would be resolved in a few days or weeks.

        Source:Premium Times

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        INTERNET DISRUPTED, STREETS QUIET IN SOUTH SUDAN AFTER CALL FOR PROTESTS

        Internet services in South Sudan were disrupted on Monday, 30th August and security forces patrolled the streets after activists called for protests against President Salva Kiir's government. Internet access was restored on Monday evening, residents said, although service was slow.MTN did not immediately respond to a comment request. An industry source with direct knowledge of the matter said the outage was due to a directive by the government.

        Source:Reuters

        UGANDA DRAFTS BILL TO PUNISH SPREADERS OF FAKE NEWS

        The government is drafting a Bill that is intended to punish Ugandans who use social media platforms to spread fake news. The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, told lawmakers on the ICT committee on Wednesday, 25 August 2021 that the Bill seeks to plug gaps in the Computer Misuse Act, 2011. “Social media platforms should be used to communicate things which are positive but not to abuse, insult or communicate falsehoods,” He said.

        Source:Chimpreports

      APC has been nominated to the GoodID Awards The nominees work towards privacy, security, accountability, & inclusion in digital identity. Vote for your 2021 Community Champions here.

      

      International Civil Society Centre is hosting the  6th Digital Debate, on September 2, 4 pm CEST. The  panelists will discuss & establish guidelines around the question: “Where are ethical red lines for the use of digital tools by CSOs?” Register here.

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