Access to the Internet should be available and affordable to all persons in Africa without discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Access to the Internet plays a vital role in the full realisation of human development, and facilitates the exercise and enjoyment of a number of human rights and freedoms, including the right to freedom of expression and information, the right to education, the right to assembly and association, the right to full participation in social, cultural and political life and the right to social and economic development.
Access and affordability policies and regulations that foster universal and equal access to the Internet, including fair and transparent market regulation, universal service requirements and licensing agreements, must be adopted. Direct support to facilitate highspeed Internet access, such as by establishing necessary infrastructure and infrastructure facilities, including access to openly licensed or unlicensed spectrum, electricity supply, community-based ICT centres, libraries, community centres, clinics and schools, is crucial to making the Internet accessible to and affordable for all. Equally important is support for the establishment of national and regional Internet exchange points (IXPs) to rationalise and reduce the cost of Internet traffic at national, local and subregional levels. It is also essential to address the gender digital divide, with factors such as level of employment, education, poverty, literacy and geographical location resulting in African women having lower levels of access than men. The sharing of best practices about how to improve Internet access for all sectors of society should be encouraged among African states. These efforts should be geared towards ensuring the best possible level of Internet connectivity at affordable and reasonable costs for all, with particular initiatives for unserved and underserved areas and communities. The cutting off or slowing down of access to the Internet, or parts of the Internet, for whole populations or segments of the public, should not be permitted on any grounds, including public order or national security grounds. Internet intermediaries should be required to be transparent about any traffic or information management practices they employ, and relevant information on such practices should be made available in a form that is accessible to all stakeholders.
This is a blog post by Kembabazi Gloria who holds a Bachelor's Degree in Law from Uganda Christian University where she also completed the Honour's College Leadership Program. She has worked as a Mentor Fellow with Educate!. She is currently a trainee in Legal Practice at Law Development Center (LDC) Uganda and works with the Department of Law Reporting, Research and Law Reform.
This paper is a joint stakeholder contribution from the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) to the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism for Uganda. This submission focuses on women’s rights and the internet in Uganda.
This is an issue paper by the Association for Progressive Communication which seeks to unpack issue areas around the growing digital divide that persists to take place, the paper further tries to provide remedies on how to shrink this gap.