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Throughout 2023, signs and episodes of shrinking civic space continued to mark the Southern African digital rights landscape.

What this edition of Southern Africa Digital Rights serves to spotlight is that privacy and data protections remain and will continue to remain areas that civil society in the region must continue to monitor and address. The same is true when it comes to access to the internet and telecommunication services.

What should also not be lost sight of, and which should shine through the articles in this edition, is that activists, journalists and ordinary citizens face threats and challenges to their privacy, data security and access to digital services and spaces. It should be clear that while this edition speaks to contexts across six countries, the issues discussed reflect trends and practices playing out across the whole Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to greater or lesser degrees.

Some of these trends and practices are continental as well and are topical in discussions of the state of human rights on the continent. Advocacy efforts around these topics and issues remain substantial and strategically significant. We invite you to read and engage with the content of this edition of the digest, and to reflect on what is happening against the backdrop of what is unfolding where you are.


Available in this second edition:

Editorial: A region grappling with digital rights deficits (by Frederico Links)

Botswana showcases e-government's privacy pitfalls (by Thapelo Ndlovu)

Eswatini strives for digital sovereignty amid technological advancements (by Ndimphiwe Shabangu)

Unveiling the landscape: Malawi’s data protection journey and the evolving digital rights terrain (by Moses Kaufa)

Rights watered down in draft privacy and data protection bill in Namibia (by Frederico Links)

Unregulated CCTV in Zambia sparks data privacy concerns (by Mwazi Sakala and Maureen Mulenga)

Zimbabwe’s digital leap falls short in bridging access to justice gaps (by Nompilo Simanje)


Southern Africa Digital Rights is produced under the project "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".


Download the full Southern Africa Digital Rights Issue Number 2 here.


Read more:

Southern Africa Digital Rights edition 1

Southern Africa Digital Rights edition 3

Southern Africa Digital Rights edition 4