The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) will hold a two-day digital rights capacity building workshop on August 29 & 30, 2016, in Grahamstown, South Africa.
The training under the theme “Empowering Freedom of Expression Organisations in Africa for Effective Digital Rights Advocacy” will bring together 12 experts representing the most prominent freedom of expression and media rights groups across Africa.
Internet penetration is rapidly increasing in African countries, especially with the advent of social media platforms, which allow millions of individuals to discuss a wide range of issues in real time. The rapid technological advancement and development of the internet have resulted in new forms of threats online, hence the need to regulate the internet to ensure online safety and privacy of citizens. However, in their attempt to regulate the internet, some governments adopt repressive legislation that restrict free expression online. Most of the policies adopted by governments, especially in Africa do not protect and promote human rights in relation to the internet and digital technologies.
According to the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, most African countries lack meaningful mechanisms for inclusive participation of citizens and key stakeholders in the processes of formulating frameworks and legislative instruments on internet and digital rights.
It is against this backdrop and related digital rights issues that the training on digital rights is being organised to deepen participants’ knowledge on the topic and introduce them to modern strategies to engage stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels on how to influence internet policy formulation regarding free expression and human rights online.
The digital rights workshop organised by AFEX is supported by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). It is a follow-up to the training that was held in January 2016, in Accra, Ghana. The workshop is in line with AFEX’s commitment to building the capacity of African free expression and media rights organisations to enable them to campaign effectively on freedom of expression and human rights challenges on the continent.
AFEX is a continental network of freedom of expression (FoE) organisations spread across East, West, South and Central Africa that are also members of IFEX. The Media Foundation for West Africa, based in Accra, Ghana, serves as the Secretariat for the network. Other members of the AFEX network are: Media Institute of Southern Africa, Media Rights Agenda, Africa Freedom of Information Centre and Centre for Media Studies and Peacebuilding. The rest are: Journaliste en Danger, National Union of Somali Journalists, West African Journalists Association, and Human Rights Network for Journalists- Uganda.