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Highway Africa, a conference at the centre of Africa’s debates on journalism, media and information and communications technology (ICT), will take place on 28-30 in Grahamstown, South Africa. The event has become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world. APC is participating as part of our efforts to promote the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, an initiative that promotes human rights standards and principles of openness in internet policy formulation and implementation on the continent.

The African Declaration elaborates on the principles which are necessary to uphold human and peoples’ rights on the internet and to cultivate an environment that supports the vision of a prosperous Africa. The African Declaration initiative is part of a broader project to build a movement of media, human rights and civil society organisations across the continent who actively monitor internet policy and regulation to ensure that they comply with existing human rights agreements. The declaration reminds African policy makers of their existing rights obligations, viewed through an internet-specific lens, and provides a framework to help them uphold these obligations when they develop internet policy and regulation.

Hands off our internet

“Hands off our internet! Internet regulation and journalism in Africa” is the title of the panel that APC is hosting on internet regulation and journalism in Africa. The speakers on the panel – Anriette Esterhuysen, executive director of APC; Emilar Vushe, APC Africa policy coordinator; Thandi Smith, director of policy for Media Monitoring Africa (MMA); Edetean Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) in Nigeria; Tusini Fokane, national coordinator of the SOS Coalition; Sekoetlane Phamodi, executive director of the Media Rights Agenda (MRA); and Sulemana Braimah, executive director of the Media Foundation of West Africa – will discuss how social media has become crucial to the practice of journalism and media in the region.

There is increasing state regulation and extension of control over the internet, including recent internet shutdowns and calls for more regulation by states. The panel will look at how this affects free media in the region, what the implications are for journalism, and how tools like the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms can shed light on the challenges and create opportunities to find solutions that support democracy and a free media.

Empowering Freedom of Expression Organisations in Africa for Effective Digital Rights Advocacy

As highlighted by the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, most African countries lack meaningful mechanisms for the inclusive participation of citizens and key stakeholders in the processes of formulating frameworks and legislative instruments on internet and digital rights. Against this backdrop and related digital rights issues, APC is participating in a training under the theme Empowering Freedom of Expression Organisations in Africa for Effective Digital Rights Advocacy. On 29-30 August, this workshop will bring together 12 experts representing the most prominent freedom of expression and media rights groups across Africa.

The digital rights workshop is being organised by the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), with support from the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).

About Highway Africa

The conference will be held at the Eden Grove Complex block, which is the main events venue for Rhodes University. The programme will begin on Saturday 27 August at 18h30 with an opening cocktail reception. On 28 August proceedings will commence at 8h30 in the Eden Grove Red Lecture Room. The conference ends on the evening of 29 August with a farewell reception.

  • Do you want to cover APC’s activities, conduct interviews with participants? Please contact Emilar Vushe at or +27 73 094 5690
  • Do you want to know more about the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms? Visit the African Internet Rights website: Contribute to the African Declaration’s interactive platform: Follow the conversation on Twitter: @AfricaNetRights #AfricanInternetRights

About the Association for Progressive Communications

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network and non-profit organisation founded in 1990 that wants everyone to have access to a free and open internet to improve lives and create a more just world. .