Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise working to advance digital rights and inclusion in Africa, has concluded a 3-day Digital Policy Workshop for Tanzanian Digital Rights Stakeholders from July 7-9, 2020.
Over 100 people applied to attend the workshop with over 65 persons selected to participate. The workshop was officially opened by Paradigm Initiative’s Chief Operating Officer, Nnenna Paul-Ugochukwu, and took place over the course of three days, introducing participants to the basic concepts of digital rights and the existing policy, legal and institutional framework in Tanzania. The workshop specifically examined Tanzania’s Cybercrimes Act and the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA).
According to Ekai Nabenyo, Program Officer at Paradigm Initiative, “It is evident that there is an urgent need to create an empowered civil society and digital rights community for the Republic of Tanzania to be able to safeguard its citizens’ digital rights”. “The civil society should be empowered to shape and dictate digital policy in the country,” Ekai further states.
Participants urged the government of Tanzania to respect the rights of its citizens and to provide the necessary platform for civil society to oversee government adherence to its human rights obligations as election dates draw closer. They also expressed concerns that the current digital policy environment provides a fertile platform for human rights violations and a tendency for impunity on the part of state officials.
“As a digital rights advocacy organisation, we endeavour to continue to closely monitor the state of digital rights in Tanzania. We shall continue to work with other stakeholders to build the capacity of civil society groups to be able to competently influence, protect and safeguard digital rights in Tanzania and in the region, through similar interventions” says Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative.
The end goal of the workshop is to ensure that stakeholders in Tanzania that already understand and follow current trends in digital rights, Tanzania civil society groups, and others can leverage the expertise of Paradigm Initiative and its partners to be able to work together with the regulatory authority and the parliament in Tanzania towards improving the state of digital rights in the country.
Participants agreed to work together in order to present a united and formidable force in its advocacy engagements in Tanzania.