Digital rights and inclusion get continental spotlight 

Ifeoma Orji, Lagos

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Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise working to advance digital rights and inclusion in Africa, has released the 2019 Digital Rights in Africa Report.

As a build up to its previous reports published in 2016, the Digital Rights in Africa Report 2019 gives in-depth analysis of the state of digital rights in Africa, while examining  violations such as Internet disruptions, illegal surveillance, arrest of bloggers and the passage of hurtful legislation, amongst others.

The Research Officer at Paradigm Initiative, Babatunde Okunoye says; “the 2019 Digital Rights in Africa Report, titled, ‘Violations Reloaded: Government Overreach Persists Despite Increased Civil Society Advocacy’ takes a critical look at the state of digital rights in 13 African countries – Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

On the findings of the report, the Communication Officer at the Paradigm Initiative, Emmanuel Vitus, says “African countries are now adopting repressive models of Informational controls borrowed from authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China, a worrying signal which forebodes ill for the future of open and inclusive societies in Africa.

”This happens through a motley of targeted shutdowns, surveillance, arbitrary legislation to silence digital users. African nations are  becoming adept at controlling information both inside and outside their borders.

Short movie
In addition to the Digital Rights in Africa Report, the establishment is currently working with a media company to convert the report into a short movie.

This will be followed by regional media briefings that will discuss its findings from the report, across Paradigm Initiative’s offices in Accra, Abuja, Arusha, Lagos, Lusaka  and Yaoundé, later in the year.

The report is available for download, via Paradigm Initiative’s website, in English and French.

The 2019 Digital Rights and inclusion in Africa Report investigates Digital rights as it become increasingly contested in Africa, with rights-limiting legislation, Internet shutdowns and other violations regularly headlining international media reports.

In the fight against digital rights violations in Africa, the Paradigm Initiative called on civil societies to persevere and use all the tools at their disposal, including research, to ensure that digital rights become respected and upheld in Africa and the world at large.

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere