Enough is Enough Nigeria, BudgIT Foundation, and Paradigm Initiative are set to host the fifth edition of the New Media, Citizens and Governance conference tagged ‘Protecting Digital Rights in Closing Spaces’ on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua centre, Abuja, Nigeria.
The one-day hybrid transnational conference will feature speakers and dignitaries from across Africa—Cameroon, South Africa, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Ghana, and Kenya—with over 300 registered delegates to discuss critical topics in the new media and how they affect various facets of the society.
According to BudgIT’s Global Director, Oluseun Onigbinde, the year’s edition has been designed to drive conversations on Africa’s digital economic space, social media restrictions and shutdowns, data privacy, elections and public accountability, marginalization and digital security.
“Digital rights are human rights in online spaces, which include the right to privacy, freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of information and communication, gender rights, and the right to freedom from violence, among others. Violation of digital rights in Africa has become a prevalent issue, and if proactive steps are not taken, it may persist,” Oluseun said.
The Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative (PIN), ‘Gbenga Sesan, described the conference as timely, as it is coming at a time when freedom in the digital space is threatened, more so with Twitter’s recent moves, which has seen the organization cutting off teams working on human rights and ethics.
“The times we are living in demand that we hold honest discussions to safeguard our shrinking digital spaces, and this forum provides that platform. It is, therefore, imperative to have an intellectual conversation on safeguarding the digital rights of African citizens before, during and after elections.” he added.
Also commenting, the Executive Director of EiE Nigeria, ‘Yemi Adamolekun, noted the conference would be instrumental in providing the opportunity for various stakeholders to discuss key issues on digital rights and elections in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
“This is a good forum for both the civil society and government representatives from the continent to discuss matters of importance for the continent.” she stated.
Confirmed speakers include Ms. Anriette Esterhuysen, Senior Advisor, Internet Governance, Policy Advocacy and Strategic Planning (South Africa), Mr. Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu, SAN, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC, Nigeria), Ms. Toyin Akinniyi, African Representative, Luminate (Nigeria) among others.