A growing number of citizens in Africa are using Information and Communications Technologies on a regular basis, which has made digital technologies pivotal to the enjoyment of their rights and improvement of their livelihoods. However, many governments are taking steps that undermine internet access and affordability, and weaken the potential of digital technologies to catalyze free expression and civic participation or to drive innovation.
There has been an increase in digital rights violations such as arrests and intimidation of online users, internet blockages, and a proliferation of laws and regulations that undermine the potential of technology to drive socio-economic and political development on the continent.
Today, with the rise of social media and online media, digital rights have become human rights and as a media foundation, it’s important to focus our actions on the kind of regulations, policies and laws that governments across the continent are drafting so that it doesn’t affect the flow of information and the access to information. Also, as a media foundation, our objective is to actively challenge laws and practices that stifle digital rights through courts of law. The litigation will target specific laws or regulations as well as practices, such as arrests and prosecution of journalists for their views and opinions online.
African countries need legislative and policy environments that enable the online media to thrive, be it in the areas of innovation, affordable access or enjoyment of digital rights. Currently, there is limited journalists’ participation in making laws and regulations around the use of the internet and associated technologies in the media.