Call for contributions on the internet and human rights in Africa

By APCNews     Johannesburg, 13 July 2016

African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms

Deadline for the submission of abstracts: 25 July, 2016.
Send an email to: emilar@apc.org with “AD CALL” in the subject line.

APC is calling for submissions of articles, case studies, interviews, publication reviews and other creative audio and visual contributions that explore how the internet [can / does / could] play a role in upholding human rights in Africa, including meeting Africa’s social and economic development needs, and what the challenges are for the realisation of this potential. This call forms part of a project on the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms – a Pan-African initiative to promote 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 people’s 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.

We are looking for contributions that explore aspects of the 13 principles of the African Declaration, including original research that illustrates the key issues it covers. Specifically submissions must respond to the following goals:

  • Increase awareness of African rights groups and media practitioners of the importance of protecting rights on the internet, and the impact on their work;
  • Achieve greater respect for human rights on the internet at all levels, but particularly among governments, parliamentarians and intergovernmental bodies by making them aware and accountable for upholding the rights they have already agreed to.

Contributions will be reviewed and selected based on integrity of the analysis and practical relevance.

General

Abstracts and contributions must be in English or in French and in a style accessible to a wide and diverse audience. Submissions can be academic or more popular / informal in format. Articles must be no more than 2000 words and multimedia resources must be a maximum of 15 minutes.

Contributions must provide analysis, and contribute to developing new thinking on internet rights from an African perspective.

We encourage contributors to gather more contextual information about the impact of the issues covered and where possible, to include views of related key stakeholders.

Submissions that include references to existing published content will be considered favourably.

Selection and editing process

Submissions will be reviewed by an editorial selection committee and successful applicants will be notified by 30 July.

We aim to respect the voice of the content creators, but we reserve the right to suggest edits with regard to length and accessibility. We also reserve the right to reject contributions that are not suitable or of poor standard.

Timeline

Abstracts submissions by 25 July
Selection by 5 August
Submission of full article by 22 August
Review by 5 September
Publication by 15 September

Payment

Payment terms will be negotiated with selected contributors.

A complexity bonus could be paid for submissions working with several layers of analysis and showing a high degree of technical competency.

African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms

The 13 principles of the African Declaration are outlined below, including potential related topics. Note that these are suggestions only, and we welcome submissions that respond to the principles from a variety of angles.

1. Openness

  • Defining “openness”
  • How do net neutrality/zero rating issues impact on Africans?
  • Innovation, identity and the global village syndrome

 

2. Internet access and affordability

  • Legislation or policies that violate the principles of net neutrality
  • What role does the private sector play in providing access to infrastructure?
  • Is it enough to have an internet-enabled phone or is that only really useful for social media access?

 

3. Freedom of expression

  • Privatised censorship emerging on the internet as access providers and hosts are made liable for third party content.
  • Has the internet enhanced freedom of expression in Africa?
  • Case studies of internet shutdowns during elections, public order disruptions on national security grounds.

 

4. Right to information

  • Open data
  • Public participation in e-governance
  • Right to information and transparency

 

5. Freedom of assembly and association and the internet

  • Online organising, peaceful assembly, and protest
  • The right to connect anonymously
  • Impact of social media algorithms on user connections and information sharing

 

6. Cultural and linguistic diversity

  • The internet as an African cultural artifact
  • Internet and culture: the new definition of “space”
  • Positive examples/or gaps of linguistic (or lack of) diversity online

 

7. Right to development and access to knowledge

  • An internet that serves development – what does it look like?
  • Role of the internet and achieving SDGs in Africa
  • Copyright and access to knowledge

 

8. Privacy and data protection

  • What are the key areas where current laws are not adequate to ensure privacy in the big data era?
  • Data protection laws
  • Privacy and journalism

 

9. Security, stability and resilience of the internet

  • Key dilemmas or tensions shaping children’s rights in the digital age
  • Legal and policy responses to crimes related to cyber security
  • Best practices in centralising human rights in cybersecurity policy making

 

10. Marginalised groups and groups at risk

  • Who are the marginalised and groups at risk on the internet?
  • Internet and disability
  • Lived experiences of marginalised groups and groups at risk

 

11. Right to due process

  • Right to due process in the digital age
  • Protection from arbitrary arrest and detention
  • Impact of national security laws on human rights

 

12. Democratic multistakeholder internet governance

  • What principles should guide internet governance in 10 years’ time?
  • What are the key questions or issues we need to pay attention to?
  • Is a multi-stakeholder approach sustainable?

 

13. Gender equality

  • What are the key concerns and priorities for women in Africa when it comes to internet rights and freedoms?
  • How are women’s movements engaged in this discussion and process?
  • The relationship between women’s rights and their citizenship

 

For more information about this call please write to Emilar Vushe on emilar@apc.org