MLDI to Host a Strategic Digital Rights Litigation Workshop at FIFAfrica18

Announcement |

Litigation has been recognised as a potentially effective tool in removing restrictions on the free flow of information online in countries with repressive internet regimes. Increasingly, some initiatives are seeking to encourage collaboration among different actors in strategic litigation for a free and open internet.

Indeed, various cases in litigation for the respect and realisation of digital rights have recently been recorded in Cameroon, Kenya, Burundi and Gambia, among other countries in Africa.

Yet still, litigation remains under-utilised because of a lack of effective collaboration between different actors: lawyers, activists, academics, technical experts and other members of civil society.

Accordingly, the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) 2018 will serve as an opportunity for the Media Legal Defense Initiative (MLDI) to build the capacity of internet activists to collaborate across disciplinary silos to more effectively push back against regressive legal frameworks that are not conducive to access and use of the internet in Africa.

Sessions at the workshop will explore the meaning of strategic litigation and examine relevant comparative and international legal standards drawing on judgments from regional courts. Together with participants, MLDI will analyse the legal issues that can arise in the context of digital rights and freedom of expression through three case studies. Through interactive group sessions, participants will examine how the comparative and international standards can be applied in practical terms.

The workshop, scheduled to take place on September 26, 2018, is aimed at enhancing the strategies for future digital rights and online freedom of expression litigation and advocacy in Africa. It builds on the foundations set in knowledge and skills for collaboration in research for internet policy advocacy as well as regional efforts targeting the legal fraternity in East and West Africa.

The 2018 workshop is the second digital rights litigation training to be held on the sidelines of FIFAfrica. The first workshop was hosted at the 2017 edition of FIFAfrica in Johannesburg, South Africa by the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and MLDI.

Register for the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2018 (FIFAfrica18)

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We are excited to open registration for the upcoming Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2018 (FIFAfrica18) set to take place on 26-28 September, 2018 in Accra, Ghana. The Forum is a landmark event that convenes various stakeholders from the internet governance and online rights arenas in Africa and beyond to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, access to information, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online on the continent.
This year, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) hosts FIFAfrica18 in partnership with the Media Foundation West Africa (MFWA). It follows the the success of  last years Forum co-hosted with the Association for Progressive Communications in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Indeed, spreading the physical footprint of FIFAfrica across different regions of the continent ensures that the Forum lives up to its goal of unpacking internet freedom challenges and opportunities in sub-regions of Africa and developing responses that are collaborative, and informed by insights from the experience of other sub-regions of the continent. Hosting the Forum in in west Africa for the first time will not only open up the space to more west African civil society, private sector and public sector actors to contribute their experiences to the regional discussion, but will  also give life to the Forum’s commitment of ensuring broader regional representation and deepening conversations across the continent.
Register here – You can also make suggestions for session topics, panels, skills clinics, presentations or any additional activities that you’d like to see happen prior or alongside the Forum. Our vision is to have a Forum with representation from as many countries in Africa as possible.  There is limited funding to support participation at FIFAfrica18. Please note that preference will be given to applicants who can partially support their attendance.

Share your thoughts on your vision for Internet Freedom in Africa using #InternetFreedomAfrica  This year, the event hashtag is #FIFAfrica18

Independence Monument | Accra, Ghana


NetBlocks and CIPESA to launch COST tool at the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa

Announcement |
LONDON — Today, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) and digital rights group NetBlocks are announcing plans for the Africa launch of the Cost of Shutdown Tool – COST, at the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) 2018, set to take place 26 – 28 September, 2018, in Accra, Ghana.
The tool, developed by NetBlocks in collaboration with the Internet Society and first unveiled at RightsCon Toronto in May 2018, is aimed at automating the task of economic estimation of the impact of internet shutdowns, mobile data blackouts and social media restrictions. It draws inspiration from the new model for calculating the economic impact of shutdowns in sub-Saharan Africa launched by CIPESA last September as well as earlier research by the Brookings Institution.

Lаunching the COST tool at FIFAfrica is vital to support the advocacy and documentation efforts against shutdowns on the continent,” Ashnah Kalemera, Programme Manager, CIPESA, said.
“We hope that the economic loss proven by the tool will support litigation efforts as well strengthen pushbacks which will include the private sector”, she added.
CIPESA and NetBlocks will move forward as official partners. Both organisations are part of the #KeepItOn coalition against internet shutdowns, and support fast, reliable and open access to the Internet and knowledge online as a tenet of democracy, freedom of speech and economic prosperity.
“We are ecstatic to be partnering with CIPESA, one of the leading research and policy think-tanks in the region. Their expertise will ensure our work on Africa is accurate and up-to-date”, Hannah Machlin, Global Advocacy Manager, NetBlocks said.
Their collaboration will provide access to new network measurement techniques that can detect telecommunications blackouts and emerging threats to internet freedom in real-time, aiding the development of sustainable rights-based ICT policies.
CIPESA was established in 2004 under the Catalysing Access to Information and Communications Technology in Africa (CATIA) initiative, which was mainly funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID). CIPESA works to enable policy makers in the region to understand ICT policy issues, and for various stakeholders to use ICT to improve governance and livelihoods. They currently approach their work through four different but interrelated thematic areas, namely promoting online freedomICT for democracy and civic participation, the right to information, and contributing to internet governance debate at national, regional and global level.
The NetBlocks Group is a civil society initiative building new techniques for network measurement that support freedom of expression and digital transparency, defending access to free and open technology and working on the security and privacy of core internet standards at groups including the Internet Engineering Task Force.

MFWA to Co-Host Africa’s Biggest Internet Freedom Event

Announcement |

From September 26 to 28, 2018, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) will co-host Africa’s biggest Internet freedom forum in Accra, Ghana.  The annual convening, which is dubbed Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) brings together key stakeholders in the Internet governance and online/digital rights environment from the continent and beyond.

The MFWA will be hosting the forum jointly with the Uganda-based organization, Collaboration for International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA). The forum is convened annually by CIPESA to deliberate on developments, challenges, opportunities and ways of improving the Internet ecosystem in Africa.  Participants also adopt strategies aimed at enhancing citizens’ digital or internet rights on the continent.

This is the first time the FIFAfrica event is being held in West Africa. Last year’s event was held in South Africa while the maiden event in 2014 and subsequent editions were held in Uganda.

The internet has become a vital tool for enhancing freedom of expression, access to information and citizens’ participation in national discourse and governance. At the same time, it is the target of hostile policies and practices by some governments. It is thus important for all stakeholders to dialogue on how to preserve the internet for development.

“The MFWA is delighted to co-host this important continental forum on Internet freedom. There couldn’t have been a better time to host this event in West Africa as the region is currently witnessing significant developments and challenges in the internet environment,” said Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the MFWA.

Online freedom of expression has come under attack in recent years in Africa. Over the past one year, countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have passed laws to restrict internet freedom.  There have also been network disruptions and shutdowns in about seven African countries over the same period. Besides, there have been increasing incidents of arrest and detentions of citizens, bloggers and journalists for their social media activities.

The FIFAfrica event will also coincide with the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI), which is observed on September 28 each year. The day has been set aside by the UNESCO to mark the importance of universal public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms.

The FIFAfrica event is scheduled to take place at the La-Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra, and is expected to host about 300 participants from dozens of countries in Africa and around the world.

You can learn more about the event by visiting the event website at: or follow the #FIFAfrica18.

For further information or inquiries, kindly contact Felicia Anthonio on [email protected] or +233 206 972 867.

This statement was originally published on on July 4, 2018 and

Apply For UPRoar: Advocating for Internet Freedom with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

Apply Now |
Are you interested in Internet Freedom? Are you worried about the social and economic impact of internet shutdowns? The increase of media censorship? Is your government using outdated media laws to regulate online spaces? Are they inventing new policies to clamp down on internet users? Do you want to do something about it?! Then read on!
In the lead up to the 2018 Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica), Small Media and the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) are hosting a 2-day interactive capacity building workshop on Internet Freedom and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The workshop is part of a wider project working to support civil society organisations across Africa to engage with the UPR process through research, capacity development and developing tools to support internet freedom advocacy.
If your application is accepted, you’ll join us in Accra, Ghana, where you and your co-participants will work together on interactive projects with the guidance of our trainers and mentors. You’ll be introduced to the UPR process, learn how to leverage different moments during the UPR timeline for advocacy, practice gathering and analysing data and creating infographic material to campaign around key issues relating to internet freedom, and create a practical advocacy plan that you can implement to follow up on recommendations made in the periodic reviews.
The shining stars who attend this workshop will also have the opportunity to apply to attend a DATA4CHAN.GE (D4C) workshop in 2019 where they will develop data driven advocacy campaigns that support independent research or organisation UPR objectives.
This call is open to individuals who are interested in and preferably have experience in human rights advocacy and are active in the following countries: Angola, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Applicants must have knowledge of Africa’s ICT sector and its role in development and governance. Participants must ensure availability for the duration of the workshop as well as FIFAfrica – 4 days excluding travel.
Complete the application form here.
The deadline for applications is 18.00 East African Time on July 31, 2018.
For questions, please email [email protected].