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 research paper, compiled by Izak Minnaar, highlights key advocacy principles in relation to information and internet rights, using the AfDec principles. The paper aims to guide MISA Zimbabwe in its efforts to embolden ordinary citizens to play an active role in the shaping of internet policy and the protection of their digital rights in Zimbabwe.
Bridging the Digital Gender Gap in Uganda: An assessment of women’s rights online based on the principles of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms
This study conducted by the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) assesses the status of women’s rights online in Uganda based on five of the key principles of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, namely internet access and affordability, marginalised groups and groups at risk, right to information, right to privacy and data protection, and gender equality.
A coalition of some 35 civil society organisations has written to several international bodies including the African Union and the United Nations Human Rights Council over the recent internet shutdown in Togo.