IGF 2023 WS #100 The Year of Elections in Africa: Watchlist of digital rights


Human Rights & Freedoms
Internet Shutdowns

Organizer 1: Aicha Fall, Paradigm Initiative
Organizer 2: Adeboye Adegoke, 🔒

Speaker 1: Hagerty Talia , Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: John Nelvin Lucero, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: 'Gbenga Sesan, Civil Society, African Group


Aicha Fall, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator

Adeboye Adegoke, Civil Society, African Group


Miriam Beartrice Wanjiru, Civil Society, African Group


Birds of a Feather - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What is the role of civil society in pushing for better digital practices in government during elections?
2. Should the findings of these trends inform policy making around the digital space? Will laws be required to protect digital rights for citizens during elections?

What will participants gain from attending this session? This workshop will provide an understanding on tendencies of pre and post-election digital rights violations based on Paradigm Initiative’s Londa Report. The participants will also be introduced to important tools to watch and track behaviour in the concerned countries.


In 2024,15 African countries planned to hold their elections. Elections on the continent rhyme with internet shutdown and human rights violations. In this session, we will explore the dynamics of freedom of speech and disinformation around elections with African countries as a case study. Paradigm Initiative, as a publisher of the annual Londa Report on the status of digital rights in African countries, will explore past behaviour of governments around elections and give projections on watchlist countries. Paradigm will also expose important tools to report violations (RIPOTI) and protect individuals from threats (AYETA).
The session will be a high panel with representatives of Paradigm Initiative and stakeholders from the civil society and governments. The Londa Report will then be presented and guide the discussion around measures taken so far in protecting digital rights at a national level. As part of the Londa Report, The 2019 Nigerian Elections through the lens of Digital Rights report highlighted digital and human rights abuses during the elections, particularly freedom of expression and data privacy. This report served as an evidence document which demonstrates the impact of the election process on human rights of voters, journalists, election organizers, election observers and all others involved in the elections. DREAM (Digital Rights and Elections in Africa Meetings), an initiative by Paradigm Initiative, is one of the strategies that will be presented for elections watching.
A Q&A will then open for participants to contribute to the conversation. The workshop will end with suggestions from both the panellists and the audience on standard procedures to protect digital citizens from violations around election period. The document will then be presented as part of the Londa report and the announcement of upcoming sessions/countries by Paradigm Initiative.
The proposer hopes that these conversations will be replicated in other countries and continents.

Expected Outcomes

Participants will engage in conversations around elections and their impact on human rights
Participants will get an understanding on trends of digital rights violation in African countries through the Londa Report
Participants will get acquainted with tools to monitor, track trends and engage with stakeholders
The international community will be introduced to relevant on-ground perspectives on the relations between elections and human rights in Africa
The outcome of the session will be a compilation of action points and standard procedures in elections watching against human rights violation

Hybrid Format: To ensure the session will be hybrid, Paradigm Initiative organisers will have a technical support staff on standby to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the event. This will ensure that participants online will fully participate and benefit from the discussion. Additionally, the organisers will ensure three speakers are physically present on location.