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Southern Africa Digital Rights is an online publication produced under "The African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms: Fostering a human rights-centred approach to privacy, data protection and access to the internet in Southern Africa" project.

This project – an initiative of the African Declaration (AfDec) Coalition, supported by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Namibia Media Trust (NMT), and funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) – seeks to open up another avenue for elevating the voices of African civil society actors, specifically those scattered across six southern African countries in most of which democratic engagement spaces are increasingly, and in some severely, constrained. The project brings together civil society and digital rights researchers, activists and advocates from about 10 organisations spread over Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

These individuals and organisations are partnering and collaborating to shine a bright spotlight on the individual country-level digital rights and online civic spaces in which they operate. This six-country digital rights collage captures and portrays broader regional narrative streams in the quest to democratise the sub-regional cyber space.

This first edition of Southern Africa Digital Rights features the following articles:

Editorial: Showcasing the will and commitment of those fighting

(by Frederico Links)

Botswana civil society organisations rebuff criminal procedures bill

The draft bill would have enabled surveillance abuse and privacy violations (by Thapelo Ndlovu)

Eswatini passes cyber laws under dark clouds

Kingdom enacts cyber crime and data protection laws in a climate of suspicion and unrest (by Ndimphiwe Shabangu)

Arrests mar Malawi’s digital rights landscape

Two recent cases point to concerning state surveillance practices and the undermining of free expression online (by Jimmy Kainja)

New surveillance regulations lurk threateningly in Namibia

The measures attack anonymity online and undermine the constitutional right to privacy (by Frederico Links)

Lungu law looms dangerously over Zambian digital rights

The previous administration brought in a cyber crime law that weaponised the internet (by Susan Mwape)

Affordable connectivity and privacy violations plague Zimbabwe

A complex range of issues are impacting the exercising of digital rights in the country (by Otto Saki and Nompilo Simanje)

Download and read the full issue here.