Apply To Participate in Disinformation and Human Rights Online Training Series

Call for Applications |
To allow for interactive discussion about specific cases and in-country contexts, we are limiting participant numbers to 20. Please see below for eligibility criteria and details about how to apply.Details:
This online training series is aimed at expert and non-expert members of civil society with an interest in tackling misinformation and disinformation using a rights-respecting approach.
The training series will consist of two interactive workshops to be held via Zoom on:
Thursday 5 November, 2-4pm EAT and Wednesday 11 November, 2-3pm EAT;
Wednesday 18 November 2-4pm EAT and Wednesday 25 November, 2-3pm EAT.
Participants will also be invited to participate in a one hour follow up call during December.
The series will be delivered by international, regional and local experts on disinformation and human rights and seeks to:

      1. Increase participants’ understanding of human rights issues relating to disinformation and misinformation.
      2. Increase participants’ understanding of policy and legal responses to disinformation in their region.
      3. Introduce participants to basic tools and methodologies to detect mis/disinformation
      4. Increase participants’ capacity to engage with representatives from government, business and journalism on disinformation and human rights (particularly the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy) in policymaking processes and debates relating to disinformation and misinformation.

Please note that sessions will be delivered in English.
Eligibility criteria:
Applicants from the following countries are eligible to apply: Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone Somalia, Somaliland, Tanzania, Uganda.
Applicants affiliated to NGOs, social enterprise companies and think tanks are eligible to apply. Media, academic and non-affiliated applicants will also be considered.
Applicants from governments and private companies (except social enterprises) are not eligible for this training series. 
Selection criteria:
Eligible applicants will be assessed by the quality of their motivation to participate in the training, as set out in answer to their application.
We particularly welcome applications from individuals and organisations that are interested in engaging in this policy area within the region and/or their countries in the longer term.

Tanzania Entrenches Digital Rights Repression Amidst Covid-19 Denialism and a Looming Election

By Edrine Wanyama |

On July 17, 2020, the Tanzania government issued new Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2020 that apply to online content production, hosting and dissemination. The regulations entrench the licencing and taxation of bloggers, online discussion forums, radio and television webcasters, and repress online speech, privacy and access to information.

The passage of the new regulations raises concerns over free speech and access to information as they come into force barely three months before Tanzania holds presidential elections on October 28, 2020, a period when civic engagement and transparency and accountability in governance requires access to a range of information and viewpoints. The regulations also come amidst Covid-19 denialism by President Pombe Magufuli’s government, which has denied citizens access to vital information and undermined efforts to contain the spread of the virus in the east African country.

Tanzania has been widely criticised for its lacklustre response to the Covid-19 pandemic, yet the regulations aim to further stifle access to health information by prohibiting the publication of “content with information with regards to the outbreak of a deadly or contagious disease in the country or elsewhere without the approval of the respective authorities.”

Earlier this year, the communications regulator, Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), banned the independent Mwananchi newspaper from publishing online for six months, after accusing it of carrying a false and misleading news report on Covid-19. At the time, TCRA said the publisher had flouted the much-criticised Electronic and Postal Communications (EPOCA) (Online Content) Regulations, 2018, which have been replaced by the new regulations. On July 9, 2020, the TCRA suspended the independent Kwanza Online TV for 11 months, over a report on its Instagram account that cited a health alert issued by the United States embassy in Tanzania, on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

In July 2020, United Nations experts noted that Covid-19 had compounded pre-existing human rights concerns in Tanzania, notably regarding the right to freedom of expression, including freedom to seek, receive and impart information. They added that Tanzania’s government was not meeting its commitments on information sharing and transparency after it stopped releasing statistics on Covid-19 cases at the end of April, and President Magufuli declared the country virus-free in early June.

The new regulations require online content service providers, internet service providers, and application services licensees to pay exorbitant fees for licensing and renewal of licences. Providers of “online content service”, described as “content broadcasting to the public through internet websites, application software, forums, blogs, weblogs, microblogs, public account, instant messaging tools, online live streaming, aggregators and other related platforms”, pay an application fee of Tanzania Shillings (TZS) 100,000 (USD 44); initial licence fee of USD 440 or USD 220; annual licence fee of USD 440 or USD 220; and a licence renewal fee of USD 440 or USD 220. The higher fees are to be paid by providers of “news and current affairs”; the lower ones by providers of entertainment, educational or religious content.

Radio and television operators that stream content online will pay USD 22 in application fees, USD 88 for the initial license, another USD 88 in annual licence fees, and USD 88 in licence renewal fees. The duration of all licences is three years.

Similar measures have previously been adopted to gag online content providers including broadcasters and bloggers during elections as was in the Broadcasting Services (Content) (The Political Party Elections Broadcasts) Code 2015.

The new regulations introduce a problematic definition of “news related content”, namely online news information gathering, compiling, editing, publication and broadcasting in a manner similar or that bears a resemblance to traditional media services provision. This essentially covers all information provided online. Similarly, the definition of an “online forum” has been expanded compared to that in the 2018 regulations, to cover every possible online fora and “online platforms”. These definitions are so vague that their application is potentially boundless in scope. With the past experiences of crackdown on media houses and journalists in Tanzania, these definitions appear to be calculated to target individuals and organisations such as Jamii Forums that champion free expression.

The new regulations raise the requirements for applicants, as well as the obligations of licensees, which could have a chilling effect on digital rights. Under regulation 6(2), applicants must provide certified copies of the certificate of registration, tax identification number, tax clearance certificate (for companies or non-government organisations) and national identity card. Furthermore, the applicant must provide a list of owners and the management team, editorial guidelines (if applying to provide “news and current affairs”) and technical description of facilities to be used. Moreover, under regulation 6(i), the TCRA may require additional documents.

The regulations expand the obligations of online content service providers and, under regulation 9(g),   require licensees to remove prohibited content immediately upon being ordered by TCRA. This does not provide room for verification or the right to be heard before removal is effected. Further regulation 9(h) and regulation 14 hold the licensee accountable for all information published. This imposes a heavy burden on licensees, including bloggers with no journalistic skills or resources to verify all information before publication, which curtails freedom of expression and denies citizens access to a variety of information. Moreover, for some unexplained reason, regulation 10 bars radio and television stations that hold district or regional license from live streaming content.

Some provisions potentially violate the right to privacy and undermine free expression. The requirement to install cameras in internet cafes and to store images recorded for 12 months has been retained under regulation 13. Further, the requirement to assign static public Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to computers in cafes would discourage usage of circumvention tools, such as Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which enable users to bypass network restrictions and to enhance their anonymity.

Furthermore, regulation 6 in as far it requires attachment of a tax identification number certificate, national identity card of the applicant and curriculum vitae, as well as academic qualifications of staff in regulation 12 (b), exposes private data. In the absence of a law on data protection and privacy in Tanzania, there is no guarantee that individuals’ data will be safeguarded against unauthorised access and disclosure.

The new regulations expand the list of prohibited content to a wide and ambiguous scope that  fails to meet the internationally acceptable limitations to freedom of expression. For instance, while para.2 of the Third Schedule protects personal privacy and human dignity, it renders a publisher liable for slander and defamation even where the published information is true. This ignores the widely acceptable defence of truth to defamation. Moreover, it is increasingly recommended globally that defamation should be decriminalised.

Furthermore, para.3 prohibits publication of information on public security, violence and national security, including undefined “news, statements or rumors for the purpose of ridicule, abuse or harming the reputation, prestige or status of Tanzania or its national anthem, symbols and logos.” This prohibition is contrary to freedom of expression guarantees provided for under article 8 of the Constitution of Tanzania. The prohibition of publication of information on demonstrations and marches potentially inhibits freedom of assembly and association, which are also guaranteed by article 20 Tanzania’s Constitution.

Failure by the regulations to clearly define prohibited information, such as that considered a threat to national security or public order in paras. 3(d) and (h), to the national currency or the national economy in para.3(f), or information relating to terrorist attacks, droughts, weather forecasts or occurrence of natural calamities para.8(b), could be used by advantaged authorities to wantonly punish critics of government and its leaders.

Regulation 21 introduces a general penalty for breaching the regulations where no specific punishment has been prescribed: a fine of not less than USD 2,200 or imprisonment for a term of not less than 12 months, or both.

In their current state the regulations will further narrow the already shrinking space for digital rights and freedoms in Tanzania, as they will muzzle freedom of expression, access to information, and individual privacy. Such freedoms are particularly important in times of elections and a pandemic. The government should therefore consider repealing or amending the EPOCA (Online Content) Regulations, 2020 so that they progressively promote the enjoyment of digital rights and freedoms.

Why Access to Information on Covid-19 is Crucial to Persons with Disabilities in Africa

By Paul Kimumwe |

While the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continues to ravage the world, there is growing concern that critical messages about the disease that are disseminated by health authorities, telecom companies, and broadcasters are not reaching persons with visual and hearing impairments.

In order to create public awareness about the pandemic, African governments are using mass media, notably radio and television, as well as Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), particularly  social media and mobile telephony platforms. The countries with confirmed Covid-19 cases, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, and Uganda, have restricted people’s movements and banned public meetings.

Various telecommunication companies, such as MTN Uganda, Safaricom in Kenya, MTN Ghana, have also removed service charges on mobile money transactions and discounted internet data prices so as to increase accessibility and affordability of the internet.

In South Africa, Vodacom and MTN are “zero-rating” information portals run by the country’s Department of Health, meaning they allow users to access vital information about the disease even when they do not have data bundles. Vodacom customers can get free vital information about the Covid-19 pandemic by visiting the website, 

However, concern is growing that some persons with disabilities are being left behind in accessing information on Covid-19. This is because, despite the recent expansion in the usage of ICT in the region, a large section of persons with disabilities faces digital exclusion due to lack of access and affordability of the requisite ICT tools and equipment,  as well as failure by broadcasters and telecom operators to provide information and services in disability friendly formats. 

Ms. Judy Okite, a disability rights activist and founder of the Association for Accessibility and Equality, says that in Kenya, it is “once in a while when they [media and government] remember there is a [need for a] sign language interpreter during Covid-19 related press briefing but, it’s very unsatisfactory.” She adds that there are no messages in braille, and for live broadcasts of discussions by national experts leading the fight against Covid-19, there is neither sign language nor captions.

The situation is similar in Ethiopia, according to Awoke Dagnew, who works with the Ethiopian charity organisation Together! He says most persons with disabilities in Ethiopia are being excluded because “most of the messages and platforms are in formats and via [electronic] channels that persons with disabilities have limited access to,” namely, television, radio, social media and telephone messages.

While several African countries have  enacted laws and policies to advance the rights of persons with disabilities, including those on access and use of ICT, these laws have largely remained on paper as key provisions are neither being implemented nor enforced. For example, while broadcasters are required by law in many African countries to have sign language insets or subtitles in newscasts, educational programmes and other programmes covering national events, there is little evidence of this being done. Indeed, some key television broadcasts and public service announcements related to Covid-19 have neither sign language interpretation nor sub-titling.

See: Removing Barriers to ICT Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities in  Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

“In Uganda, [whereas] the Ministry of Health released a video in sign language with general information, still graphics used in most informative materials are not in font types, sizes and colour combinations [optimised] for the visually impaired,” observed Mohamed Kimbugwe, the Digitalization and Human Rights Technical Advisor at the GIZ office in Uganda. Moreover, while major television stations have sign language interpretation on major new bulletins, this is not always the case for other crucial public awareness campaigns, such as press conferences and updates from the national Covid-19 task force.

In Nigeria, sections 24 and 25 of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) require public hospitals and the government to ensure that persons with disabilities are given special considerations, including provision of special communication during situations of risk, emergicies (such as Covid-19) and other natural causes.

 In the wake of declaring Covid-19 a global pandemic, the WHO  issued guidelines to mitigate the impact of the outbreak on persons with disabilities. It called upon governments to take action to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind in the fight against Covid-19. Regarding Covid-19 public health information and communication,  the WHO urged governments to:

  • Include captioning and, where possible, sign language for all live and recorded events and communications. This includes national addresses, press briefings, and live social media. 
  • Convert public materials into “Easy Read” format so that they are accessible for people with intellectual disability or cognitive impairment. 
  • Develop accessible written information products by using appropriate document formats, (such as “Word”), with structured headings, large print, braille versions and formats for people who are deafblind. 
  • Include captions for images used within documents or on social media. Use images that are inclusive and do not stigmatise disability. 
  • Work with disability organisations, including advocacy bodies and disability service providers to disseminate public health information.

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) has also issued key recommendations towards a disability-inclusive Covid-19 response, including the requirement that persons with disabilities must receive information about infection mitigating tips, public restriction plans, and the services offered, in a diversity of accessible formats with use of accessible technologies.

The implementation of the WHO and IDA guidelines and recommendations need not be treated as a favour, as African governments are obligated under both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (ACHPER PD) to provide equal opportunities, accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities. Specifically, Article 9(b) of the CRPD requires states to take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.

Additionally, Article 25(b) of the CRPD requires states to take all appropriate measures to ensure access for persons with disabilities to health services (and information) that are gender-sensitive, including health-related rehabilitation.

On the other hand, state are required, under Article 19(2) of the ACHPER PD Protocol to put in place policy, legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure these rights, on the basis of equality, including requiring private entities, such as telecom and television companies, to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities.

Re-echoing the WHO guidelines, Okite recommends that governments and other agencies, including telecom and broadcasting companies involved in the design and dissemination of Covid-19 related public information, should ensure that they make all the information accessible to persons with disabilities. “If it’s online content, let it be in an accessible format, in some instances use diagrams, in a live interview /discussion let there be transcriptions or sign language that all persons may get information first-hand to avoid anxiety and fear and misunderstanding.” 

Televised programmes that feature experts discussing Covid-19 should have sign language interpreters and transcriptions to enable persons with visual and hearing impairments to benefit from the expert knowledge.

In Uganda, the National Union for Persons with Disability (NUDIPU) has called for the suspension of the social media tax (OTT) whose introduction in 2018 exacerbated the digital exclusion of marginalised populations, to enhance access to information and ease communication for persons with disabilities, especially the deaf.

In designing and disseminating Covid-19 related messages, telecom companies need to ensure that these are in multiple formats – including SMS, audio, visual and in disability friendly formats.

Silencing Critical Voices: Our Online Civic Space is Shrinking

By Digital Shelter |

Somalia had recorded steady growth in telephone penetration – with 7.6 mobile subscribers. However, internet penetration remains low – 2% as at 2017, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The adoption of technology has expanded civic space in the post conflict era, with social media platforms and blogs empowering journalists, activists and human rights defenders to document and report human abuses, mobilize public opinioncampaign for reforms, share relevant content and information, and build networks at national and global level.

However, the past three years have seen a rise in threats against online freedom of expression, such as the arrest and intimidation of several journalists and social media campaigners for comments posted on social media. There are reports of dissenting social media accounts being hacked, while others have deactivated their accounts due to fear of attacks. A culture of censorship prevails, amidst a rise in sponsored trolls spreading misinformation and propaganda to counter factual narrative reported by journalists, human rights defenders and activists online.

It is against this background that Digital Shelter hosted a panel discussion on the shrinking online civic space in Somalia and the growing digital threats faced by media professionals, bloggers and human right defenders in the digital space on February 13, 2020. The event was part of series of activities under the theme “Protect our Online Space”, supported by the Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF) – an initiative of the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA).

Among the panelists was Mohamed Irbad, a prominent blogger and researcher known for his critical writings on governance, human rights, freedom of expression and censorship on social media platforms. In early 2019, after publishing an article titled “Media Censorship In Somalia: A Nation Risk Into Information Darkness” on his personal blog, Mohamed faced serious online and physical threats which forced him to flee the country for six months due to fear for his safety.
“All critical voices, particularly individuals who are based inside Somalia have been silenced with online and physical threats altogether. For instance, when your raise critical issue on Twitter or Facebook you have two options, you either end up battling with anonymous trolls in their hundreds by answering to their toxic comments or you feel intimidated and sacred of writing about certain issues, hence, your remain silenced . And that is exactly what happened to me after writing that article. And therefore, it is fair to stay that we are witnessing the worst shrinking of our online/offline civic and democratic spaces” Mohamed Irbad.
Also speaking at the event was Hassan Ali Osman, a journalist, with the New Humanitarian newsletter. Hassan actively uses Twitter to disseminate local and international news as it breaks for his 90,000 followers. He shared that he has been constantly attacked by trolls merely because of reporting the truth on social media platforms.
Highlighting the issue of online violence against women was Sucdi Dahir Diriye, a passionate community volunteer and member of CaawiWalaal loosely translated as “HelpYourBrother” –  a digital campaign launched three years ago to support local communities affected by droughts in Somalia. As in most of the world, the internet has provided a platform for Somali women to amplify their voices. However, it has also enabled perpetuation of different forms of online violence against women including harassment, doxing, threats, stalking and blackmail, sometimes leading to physical violence. The targets of these attacks are women that are vocal on issues such as gender equality, sexual violence, free expression, or challenging the patriarchal structure of the society. This has created a hostile online environment for women and girls in Somalia, fraught with shaming, intimidation and degrading, leading to withdraw of from the online space.
As part of her work, Sucdi documents cases of online blackmailing and extortion against young girls in Mogadishu and other regions of Somalia. She stated that limited recognition of the existence of online violence and harassment against women in Somalia is allowing the abuse to continue inexorably. Relevant policies to address online violence against women need to be put in place and more women and girls need to be skilled in digital safety and security.
Based on their personal and professional experiences, the panelists stressed the need for counter measures against the prevailing threats. Among the recommendations made was increased digital security skills and knowledge building among activists, bloggers and media professionals. Specialized training on gendered online harassment was encouraged. Panelists also emphasized a dual approach in voice amplification – online and offline to reach wider audiences.  Furthermore, more stakeholder dialogue to raise awareness on online civic space and digital rights, including data protection and privacy inline with Somalia’s growing technology sector. Other recommendations included research undertakings on current digital threats in Somalia, to inform advocacy and policy interventions; and establishment of a solidarity network to support victims of online attacks.
“Digital Shelter is proud to be in a unique position to amplify voices in the most difficult time where the online civic space is shrinking in Somalia”, said Abdifatah, co-founder of Digital Shelter in the closing remarks of the forum.
Digital Shelter continues its “Protect our Online Space” drive during March 2020 with series of trainings on digital security. Digital Shelter is also planning to host other forums on expanding online civic space in Somalia.

This article was first published by the Digital Shelter on March 04, 2020

Advancing Collaborations in Strategic Litigation for Digital Rights in East Africa

By Edrine Wanyama |

Strategic litigation has gained recognition as a tool for pushing back against restrictions on rights to privacy, access to information and freedom of expression, assembly and association in the digital sphere in Africa. Notable cases have been recorded in Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Gambia, Zimbabwe, and Sudan.

However, litigation for digital rights remains under-utilised across the continent due to lack of effective collaboration between actors such as lawyers, activists, academia, civil society organisations and other technical experts.

At the 2019 Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica19) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a workshop was hosted to promote best practices for more effective collaboration across disciplinary silos in digital rights litigation. The session also aimed to raise the visibility of the outcomes and lessons learned from three recent digital rights cases and campaigns in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, alongside global experiences by Access Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Media Legal Defense Initiative (MLDI), so as to inform future intervention. It was attended by 22 participants comprising of parliamentarians, lawyers, academics, journalists, digital rights activists, civil society actors and representatives of government agencies.

The workshop and case analysis were premised on the catalysts for collaboration which outline 12 principles in advancing digital rights campaigns using litigation.

The 12 Catalysts for Collaboration

Various issues emerged during the workshop and in many instances echoed the experiences of cases in East Africa and beyond. In his presentation, “Litigating Digital Rights and Online Freedom of Expression in East, West and Southern Africa”, Padraig Hughes from MLDI explored  internet regulation and international human rights instruments provisions related to digital rights, including data protection and privacy, the right to be forgotten, encryption, anonymity and cybercrime. He noted that whereas countries across the world were party to many of the instruments, case law on internet regulation in Africa was not as advanced as in other continents. Indeed, a study of the case of The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) v Hon. Attorney General & Three Others in Kenya indicates that due to limited precedent and case law on strategic litigation in Africa, BAKE had to rely heavily on European Union case law as a reference point.

BAKE’s petition challenged the Computer and Misuse Act, 2018, stating that it violated, infringed and threatened fundamental freedoms protected in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. In May 2018, a judge granted interim conservatory orders, suspending 26 clauses in the Act. To-date, a hearing date is yet to be set for the case. However, the orders granted remain in force pending the hearing.

The EFF’s Corynne McSherryn presented collaborative cases which challenged border device search and seizures in the United States of America, as part of which border and pocket guides have been issued to help travellers in securing their digital data before travelling. The publicity and awareness approach of the guides is similar to that adopted in pushing back against a social media tax in Uganda by encouraging the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). A case related to this pushback is the Cyber Law Initiative (U) Limited and Five Others Versus The Attorney General of Uganda and Two Others.

On July 2, 2018, Cyber Law Initiative (U) Limited and four individuals – Opio Daniel Bill, Baguma Moses, Okiror Emmanuel and Silver Kayondo – sued the Attorney General, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in the Constitutional Court over an amendment to the Excise and Duty Act. The amendment introduced a tax of Uganda Shillings (UGX) 200 (USD 0.05) per day in order to access Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Viber, among other social media platforms. The case relied heavily on print, broadcast and online media to raise public awareness and push back against the tax through encouraging use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). It is over a year since the case was filed and all relevant submissions have been tabled before court. However, a hearing date has not been fixed. Efforts to have the case hearing date fixed have included a petition to the Deputy Chief Justice with an annexation of over 400 signatures, to no avail.

Aaron Kiiza, part of the legal team on the Uganda social media tax case, noted that collaborative litigation remains a major challenge due to group dynamics and unforeseen circumstances. This was the case in Tanzania where three collaborators withdrew from Legal and Human Rights Center and Two Others v. The Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority and the Attorney General, which demoralised the group and was deemed as the “starting point of defeat” in the case.

The Legal and Human Rights Centre, Media Council of Tanzania, Tanzania Media Women Association (TMWA), Jamii Media, Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), and the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) filed a case in the High Court of Tanzania challenging enforcement of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA) (Online Content Regulations) of 2018. The applicants argued that the regulations were promulgated in excess of power, illegal, against the principles of natural justice, unreasonable, arbitrary and ambiguous. However, three applicants (Jamii Media, TAMWA and TEF), later withdrew from the case. TAMWA and TEF’s withdrawal from the case was attributed to waning interest, while that of Jamii Media was due to separate criminal proceedings against its Executive Director, which had already put a strain on the organisation’s operations.

 On May 4, 2018, the Court issued a temporary injunction preventing the implementation of the Regulations which were to take effect the following day on May 5, 2018. However, the government of Tanzania appealed against the decision, and Court overturned the injunction and dismissed the case, with each party bearing its own costs.

Meanwhile, in the Zimbabwean case against the network disruption of January 2019, Kuda Hove from the Media Institution of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe observed that collaborative litigation sometimes leads to delays which can affect justice. In the Kenyan case, time constraints required BAKE to draft and file the petition, under certificate of urgency, with only two days left before the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018 came into force. Hove noted that there is always the need to strengthen communications among parties and collaborators who may fail on their duties and obligations during the litigation.

Participants also highlighted the lack of digital rights knowledge, skills and competencies amongst judges and lawyers a shared experience across all three cases studied. Resource constraints which affect evidence gathering are another shared challenge.

Furthermore, the slow nature of legal processes was acknowledged. The cases in East Africa have been fraught with setbacks, including case backlog and judiciary transfers leading to fatigue of both the legal counsel and the general public.

The workshop and case analysis were carried out as part of a CIPESA-MLDI project aimed at increasing the availability of information on digital rights cases in Africa and lessons learned to inform future intervention for effectiveness, creativity and resilience of cases. The documenting of the case studies was conducted by CIPESA in partnership with the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) and Tanzania Human Rights Defender’s Coalition (THRDC), and involved expert consultations, literature review and interviews.