IGF 2018 LIGHTNING SESSION #5 Trends in Digital Rights in Africa

Title: Trends in Digital Rights in Africa

The state of Digital Rights in Africa has worsened in the past 3 years. The regularity and severity of digital rights violations such as Internet shutdowns, clampdown and arrests of citizens for comments made across digital platforms have intensified, leading to great concern among civil society groups on the continent. This session seeks to provide an overview of the situation for Africa. 

Sub-theme: Freedom of Expression Online

Presenter Name: Rigobert Kenmogne, Wathagi Ndungu

Organization: Paradigm Initiative

Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Regional Group: Africa

Session Time

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.):


- Title: Human Rights, Youth and Gender- Freedom of Expression. Overview in Africa


- Date & Time: 14:00-14:20


- Organizer(s): Wathagi Ndungu


- Chair/Moderator: N/A


- Rapporteur/Notetaker: N/A


- List of speakers and their institutional affiliations (Indicate male/female/ transgender male/ transgender female/gender variant/prefer not to answer): Wathagi Ndungu, Paradigm Initiative


- Theme (as listed here): Human Rights, Youth and Gender


- Subtheme (as listed here): Freedom of Expression


- Please state no more than three (3) key messages of the discussion. [150 words or less]


  • The Copy-cat like situation that is going on in Africa in terms of policies. Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia pretty much enacted the same policies each after the other such as OTT.
  • Arbitrary arrests of digital rights defenders. This has been occurring and trending and therefore there is a need to develop a protection strategy.
  • Capacity building and neeed of awareness on digital rights issues


- Please elaborate on the discussion held, specifically on areas of agreement and divergence. [150 words] Examples: There was broad support for the view that…; Many [or some] indicated that…; Some supported XX, while others noted YY…; No agreement…


-Many wanted to know more about the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill. There was a divide between those that were happy with the government regulating and those that were for self-regulation


- Please describe any policy recommendations or suggestions regarding the way forward/potential next steps. [100 word


-There is a need to educate legislators and policymakers on digital rights because they are  ones at the table making laws that cause human rights abuses.

- What ideas surfaced in the discussion with respect to how the IGF ecosystem might make progress on this issue? [75 words]

-Strategic litigation

-Strengthening advocacy efforts

Creating awareness especially to those that have a seat at the policy making table


- Please estimate the total number of participants.



- Please estimate the total number of women and gender-variant individuals present.



- To what extent did the session discuss gender issues, and if to any extent, what was the discussion? [100 words]

To some extent. We spoke on the arbitrary arrests of two female digital rights defenders and the need to protect them.