Paradigm Initiative Calls For Collective Action To Safeguard Digital Rights, Promote Internet Freedom

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digital inclusion

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is urging all stakeholders to take collective action in safeguarding rights, promoting responsible practices, and preserving Internet Freedom.

PIN is a Pan-African organization that advocates for digital rights and inclusion. The organization seeks to empower under-served young Africans with digital opportunities while ensuring their rights are protected. Their programs include the Life Skills, ICT, Financial Readiness, Entrepreneurship (LIFE) training program, Dufuna and a digital rights program.

Through a monitoring report known as Londa, PIN highlights key recommendations to the private sector, media, academia, civil society, and government to ensure the protection of digital rights for all.

Londa is a monitoring report highlighting the state of digital rights and inclusion in 24 African countries.

In the report, PIN points out the need for the private sector to ensure that content moderation and surveillance practices do not stifle diverse political views and opinions. It urges organizations to resist government pressure aimed at having illegal access to personal data and engage in digital abuse and especially blockage of internet networks and services.

The report emphasizes the necessity of having no barriers to Internet and mobile access; Prioritizing digital literacy and keeping citizens informed about their digital rights.

“Addressing the challenges faced in the digital space, as proffered by Londa is a positive step towards the full realization of human rights and government compliance with treaty obligations. Every African government should aim to improve their digital rights record each year while every other stakeholder plays their critical part,” Ms. Thobekile Matimbe, the organization’s Senior Manager, Partnerships, and Engagements, adds.

The Londa report further calls upon the media to uphold professional ethics in reporting. This is in effort to combat misinformation and disinformation. At the same time, it stresses the importance of protecting media practitioners by building coalitions and resisting repressive laws. The report states that providing digital security training to members will enable them to work safely in the digital space.

The report also encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between fields to tackle complex digital rights and Internet freedom issues. “Academia should play an active role in developing digital literacy training curricula, promoting best practices through research and fostering awareness,” the report proposes.

To build effective domestic human rights monitoring mechanisms, civil society should streamline the flow of information between grassroots community organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

PIN calls on governments to refrain from digital authoritarianism and instead should uphold constitutional and international obligations. “Establishing robust multi-stakeholder consultative processes for policies, laws, and regulations is important. Regular policy and legislative updates should be provided to the public, and governments must exercise caution when applying disinformation laws to ensure they don’t unjustifiably limit freedom of expression,” the report recommends.

PIN believes that by implementing the recommendations, the continent can ensure an inclusive, transparent, and secure digital landscape.

The report can be found here.