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MONTHLY BULLETIN - APRIL

DRIF22 was a key activity in April, the event hosted sessions under themes such as; inclusivity, affordability, digital surveillance, internet shutdowns, cyberbullying, freedom of expression & women's rights online. AIRA hosted a session on internet shutdowns and the role of the judiciary, while officially launching the Internet shutdowns report. AIRA members also published reports, submissions, statements and workshops pursuant to their work on digital rights:

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Paradigm Initiative

1) Paradigm Initiative held virtual sessions of the Digital Rights Inclusion Forum (DRIF 22) from 12th to 14th April 2022. Themes for discussion; inclusivity, affordability, digital surveillance, internet shutdowns, cyberbullying, freedom of expression & women's rights online. In case you missed it, access is a playlist of all the DRIF22 sessions on YouTube here. DRIF22 resumed on 20th April 2022 and goes until 20th May 2022, with in-person sessions. The first in-person session was hosted in Namibia under the topic: ‘Towards a Digitally Inclusive Namibia’ by Digital Foundation of Namibia. Watch this session here.

Upcoming activities:

DRIFF22 will run until 20th May 2022, with in-person sessions in 17 countries across Africa. See the agenda for the in-person sessions here.

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CIPESA

1) CIPESA issued the sixth call for proposals to the Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF), that supports digital rights work across the continent through flexible and rapid response grants. Grant amounts for this round will range between USD 1,000 and USD 10,000, with a grant period not exceeding six months. The current call is particularly keen on proposals for work related to: Data governance including aspects of data localisation, biometric databases and digital ID, Digital resilience, Digital economy, Digital inclusion, and Misinformation/disinformation. More information about the fund here.



2) On 20thApril 2022, CIPESA in partnership with Small Media hosted partners from 17 countries to discuss the Universal Periodic Rights (UPR) and digital rights. The partners included Uproar, Give1Projet Gambia, Junction Senegal, Defy Hate Now, KICTANet, Paradigm Initiative, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation Malawi, Tanzania Human rights defenders Coalition, Internet Society Uganda, Internet Society Namibia, Rudi International, FAMOD Mozambique, Chozen Generation and POLLICY. The 3- day event involved ICT stakeholders from the private and public sectors, including the legislature. The need for universal/affordable ICT access was highlighted, and it was suggested that progress could be attained by addressing inhibiting tax policies on data, gender disparities, high data prices, and inclusion for persons with disabilities.

Upcoming activities:

The preliminary findings of the Africa Media Freedom and Journalists Safety Indicators developed by CIPESA will feature in engagements during commemoration of World Press Freedom Day in May 2022.

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Article 19 Eastern Africa

1) On 25th April 2022, Article 19 Eastern Africa and Protection International Africa hosted a virtual Peer Learning session for women human rights defenders and journalists from Kenya and DRC to discuss key challenges and lessons they have learnt from their work, particularly in the context of a pandemic, violence and elections. The opportunity to connect and reflect collectively was highly appreciated by the participants.



2) ARTICLE 19, Eastern Africa alongside its partners; Civic Freedoms Forum (CFF), Crime Si Poa, Defenders Coalition, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), Red Vests Movement, and Tribeless Youth issued a statement expressing their concern about State authorities that continue to criminalize Kenyans who exercise their right to peaceful protest, subjecting them to harassment, use of force, intimidation, and bringing unlawful charges against them. The statement specifically focused on protests against the rising cost of living and lower food prices, among other issues that started online at #NjaaRevolution. People protested Read the full statement here.

Upcoming activities:

Article 19 Eastern Africa will be launching its 2021 Digital Monitoring report in May/June 2022

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    CIPIT

    1) On 10th March, Article 19 Eastern Africa hosted a session at Mozilla Fest; ‘Building civil society capacity for combating disinformation in Eastern Africa’. The session was based on a study conducted on content moderation in Kenya. The session highlighted key challenges and identified some solutions. The report on Content Moderation in Kenya will be released and disseminated shortly. Read about the event here.

    

    2) ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa issued a statement calling for the unconditional release of The Alternative DigiTalk TV journalists who were arrested in Uganda. “We condemn the action by the Ugandan Government to harass and arbitrary arrest journalists. This is creating an environment where the media has to operate in an intimidating atmosphere,” said Mugambi Kiai, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Regional Director. The statement reminded the Ugandan government that during the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) cycle, the government committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, including that of the media. Read the full statement here.

    Upcoming Activities:

    The Privacy Symposium Africa 2022 will be held from November 2nd to 4th 2022, in Nairobi, Kenya at the prestigious Strathmore University. Read the press release here, and launch video here.

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      KICTANet

      1) KICTANET published an article, ‘What a Human-Centered Cybersecurity Approach Means to Kenya’s Financial Sector’. The article is about a study by KICTANet and Trust4Cyber Flagship Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH that maps out the cybersecurity landscape in Kenya and focuses on the financial sector. The report notes that cybersecurity does not only involve the protection of systems and technology but also extends to the all-around protection of users, their intangible values, physical security, and ensuring non-disruption of their daily critical activities. Read the full article here.

      

      2) KICTANet together with United Kingdom's Digital Access Program is developing a cyber hygiene curriculum and key messaging intended for marginalized populations. A questionnaire has been prepared to collect information on how people with disabilities operate in the digital world. Information that describes the majority of people with the disability that your organization manages/addresses is welcome. Complete the questionnaire here.

      

      Upcoming activities:

      On 3rdMay 8.30 am – 17.00 pm, KICTANET in collaboration with The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Kingdom’s Digital Access Program (DAP) partners in Kenya are hosting a UK-DAP partners’ open day on Partnering for Effective Connectivity and Broader Digital Inclusion. The event, which aims to strengthen partnerships around the Digital Access Program among existing DAP partners and beyond, will be held at Strathmore University and via zoom. Read the concept note here.

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      BudgIT

      1) BudgIT and Connected Development had a coalition meeting with the media and CSOs on improving healthcare funding and resource management in Nigeria for better health care delivery, especially at the local level. Watch the highlights from the meeting here.

      

      2) To expand its international footprint and foster coordination, BudgIT is opening an office in the United States. The office will also lead on programming that focuses on research, policy, arts for civic engagement and also interactive technology. The official launch of BudgIT US was on 26thApril with support from Open Gov Hub. Read a out the launch here.

      Activities in July:

      BudgIT has unveiled the BudgIT Half-hour – a weekly conversation that spotlights issues of governance, budget reforms, resource allocation & effective service delivery in Nigeria. The program airs very Friday on Nigeria info FM at 8:30am. You can listen to the conversations from anywhere: https://t.co/nFcg8F30OM every Friday.

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          Legal Resources Centre

          1) The LRC made a submission on the South Africa Department of Health's Draft Regulations relating to the "Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions". LRC has reservations about the draft regulations as they bear potential for serious violations of rights to privacy, data collection and unfettered surveillance of people. In their current form, the draft regulations are unconstitutional and amount to serious violations of fundamental human rights under domestic and international law. Read the submission here.

          2) The LRC and other human rights organizations in the INCLO network, have filed an intervening third party application to the European Court in the Telegram v Russia case. The submission addresses the three salient points of intervention; namely that emerging international standards on encryption emphasize the role that encryption plays in protecting freedom of expression and privacy; “backdoors” to encrypted communications are irreconcilable with the principles of necessity and proportionality, and their is a lack of data available to understand the scale and need for decryption based on the grounds of national security. Read the full submission here.

        Upcoming Activities:

        LRC will release the research report on digital rights and the right to education in South Africa in a few months.

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          Amnesty International

          1) Amnesty International – Kenya published an article challenging the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) authority to designate some words and phrases as hate speech. NCIC released a report whose purpose was to “identify language employed by influential people to incite violence against other groups”. Amnesty noted that the document was overly theoretical and would not have any impact on tackling hate speech. Read the full article here.


          2) On 19th April 2022, Amnesty International – Kenya Executive Director, Irungu Houghton was part of a panel on KBC discussing Media, security and elections. The panel was the first episode of a weekly series, ‘Decision 22’. He noted that ‘Kenya currently ranks 102/180 on the World Press Freedom Index. It is important that we arrest this slide. Reporting electoral malpractices, corruption and misgovernance is no excuse for muzzling the press in 2022.’ Watch highlights from the discussionhere.

        Upcoming Activities:

        On 11thApril 2022, Amnesty Kenya launched the Digital Disruptors Kenya workshop. Over the next few months, six digital rights activists will work to create their own campaign on a digital rights issue.

        

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          POLLICY

          1) POLLICY were 1 of 10 UNESCO-Netexplo Innovation Award winners for 2022 for the interactive fiction game on digital safety, chosen out a pool of 3000. Garnett Achieng', POLLICY / Digital Safetea Data & digital rights researcher noted that POLLICY wishes to make the game available in more African languages. One of the challenges that many digital terminologies do not translate very well. POLLICY are always on the lookout for organizations that want to help us in this translation. Watch the Netexplo Innovation forum here.


          2) On 22nd April 2022, POLLICY kicked off the digital ambassador’s program in Tanzania with the very first in person meeting aimed forming partnerships with potential collaborators such as universities, corporations, and organizations working to improve digital literacy, inclusion, and resilience. At the meeting, it was noted that only 17% of women access the internet in Tanzania. The Digital Ambassador Program seeks to skill young people especially women with digital skills specifically aiming at impacting the lives of 1 million young women to build a digital Africa.

        Upcoming Activities:

        POLLICY is currently looking for a visionary Director of Research to manage their global research activities. The role will include coordinating POLLICY’s different research projects. Location: Kampala or Remote Deadline: 31 May 2022. Read the detailed role description here.

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          CcHUB/I-Hub

          1) On 5thApril, CcHUB/I-Hub released the latest episode of Ed-Tech Mondays. The panelists were Ada Nduka Oyom - Founder, She Code Africa, Dr. Adefunke Ekine, Deputy Director Research and External Linkages, Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED). The episode, Celebrating African Women in Education and Technology discussed women and the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Watch the full episode here.

        Upcoming Activities:

        · CcHUB/I-Hub is organizing the CcHUB Design Fellowship. Successful applicants of the will get a chance to learn under experienced design experts, contribute to projects that make a tangible impact, and get an opportunity to integrate into the CcHUB team in Nigeria, Kenya, or Rwanda over the next 6 months. Read more about it here.

        

        · Cchub/I-hub is hosting a two days capacity building session around Data Analytics in Africa. The session will explore data collection in Africa and how big data can be leveraged as part of the broader development data revolution. Register here for the session.

        

        

        AIRA Activities:

        

        1) On 14th April 2022, AIRA hosted a session at DRIFF 22. The session was ‘Averting Internet Shutdowns and Protecting Digital Rights in Africa: Analyzing the Critical Role of the Judiciary’. The panelists discussed recommendations from the AIRA internet shutdowns study, global and regional trends of internet shutdowns and the opportunities presented by courts of law, to mitigate and/or halt the trend of internet shutdowns/censorship. You can watch the session here.

        

        2) AIRA officially launched the AIRA study on Internet Shutdowns in Africa. You can access this study on the AIRA website here.

        

        Upcoming Activities:

        AIRA will host an AIRA Talks on Data Governance towards end of May 2022. Look out for more information on this session on our social media handles: Twitter: @aira_africa, Facebook and LinkedIn: African Internet Rights Alliance.

        

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