Paradigm Initiative

Paradigm Initiative has called for a holistic commitment and collaboration to deepen digital inclusion and protect human rights online in Africa.

The nonprofit also urged governments in Africa to take steps to understand the cross-cutting issues that lead to abuse, disabling environment and poor policies in the digital ecosystem.

The calls were made in the organisation’s new report, Londa State of Digital Rights and Inclusion in Africa 2021, in which it noted that African governments have demonstrated a lack of urgency in implementing laws or policies related to digitisation.

The Londa report, which covered 22 African countries, said that most countries either do not have or had yet to publish national legislation and strategies guiding Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The report noted that in several African countries, the massive use of social networks by citizens is accompanied by increasingly restrictive legal standards from the authorities.

According to the report, the rise of misinformation and hate speech remains a complex issue in developing and implementing policies and legislation to promote and protect freedom of expression in Africa.

‘The manipulation of information and public opinion infringes on the rights of citizens and must stop. Governments must set policies that keep the Internet open and safe for all and work with relevant stakeholders to eliminate online violence, bullying, hate speech and misinformation’, the report said.

‘Existing policies and legislation are still far from adequate as most country reports highlight implementation challenges from opaque processes to noncompliance from state actors, among others’.

Londa 2021 also noted that Angola lacks a national framework, policies, and legislation for protecting women, children, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) online.

The report revealed that Zambia witnessed a renewed commitment by civil society organisations (CSOs) to push back on digital rights violations in the country.

It urged African CSOs to sustain their efforts in raising awareness on digital rights and digital inclusion.

Londa is an advocacy tool of engagement with different stakeholders in the reported countries. According to the nonprofit, it serves as a yardstick for measuring the countries’ annual performances and provides recommendations to improve the digital space.

Source: Paradigm Initiative

Photo source: Borgen Project

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