Africa in urgent need of a homegrown online rights strategy

Events in the first quarter of 2019 indicate that Africa urgently needs to agree on a homegrown strategy for the protection and promotion of online rights and freedoms on the continent.

During the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) held in Lagos, Nigeria on 24-25 April 2019, at a session hosted by APC on behalf of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms Secretariat, participants agreed that the African Declaration was a good start. The Declaration is an initiative to promote human rights standards and principles of openness in internet policy formulation and implementation on the continent.

In the session, titled “Consolidating a pan-African approach to building an open and useful internet in Africa”, participants noted that not only had there been an increase in violations against citizens’ access to and use of the internet across the continent, but that this trend was worsening. This is particularly so as governments continue to enact repressive policy and legislation and apply extrajudicial means to limit freedoms online.

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