Stakeholders at the 2022 New Media Citizens and Governance Conference have called for the protection of the rights of citizens in the digital space.
This came amidst reported cases of social media restrictions and shutdowns by governments in Africa.
The call was made at a one-day hybrid conference organised by BudgIT, Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria) and Paradigm Initiative (PIN) under theme; “Protecting Digital Rights in Closing Spaces” held in Abuja. It is the fifth edition of the bi-annual pan-African New Media, Citizens, and Governance Conference (NMCG).
One of the keynote speakers, Anriette Esterhuysen, outgoing chairman, Multistakeholder Advisory Committee of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) South Africa in her address said there was a need for increased civic participation in closing spaces.
She said, “Digital inclusion should be promoted, collaborative actions should be taken, there should be capacity building across the civic ecosystem (government, media, civil society).”
During the panel session on “Social Media and The African States: Restrictions and Shutdowns,” executive secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Anthony Ojukwu, SAN said most of the legislation being proposed is tilted towards regime protection, not the office of the citizen.