OBINNA EZUGWU

Paradigm Initiative, a social enterprise that works to connect underserved young Africans with digital opportunities, has called on the new government in Tanzania, to pass digital rights and freedoms law.

The Initiative which said it began advocating for the passage of the law in 2020, expressed hope that with the new political administration and with the support of different stakeholders and all Tanzanians, the proposed law will see the light of day in the very near future.

“Paradigm Initiative convened the 2021 Tanzania Stakeholders Convening on Digital Rights Legislation in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from the 29th of June 2021 to the 30th June 2021. The forum brought together 25 stakeholders drawn from civil society, academia, legal fraternity and the media. Paradigm Initiative together with local stakeholders are leading efforts to champion a Digital Rights and Freedoms Bill in Tanzania to complement the existing cyber laws in the country. Similar discussions on a similar Bill are currently ongoing in Cameroon, Malawi, Zambia and other countries in Africa,” the Initiative said in a statement.

“In the United Republic of Tanzania, these efforts began in 2020 and it is our hope that with the new political administration and with the support of different stakeholders and all Tanzanians, the proposed law will see the light of day in the very near future. We also note that there are already discussions in Tanzania around a privacy law and we urge the Executive and Parliament specifically to expedite the process of such laws to guarantee data protection and unhindered enjoyment of digital rights among all Tanzanians.

“As a Pan-African digital rights organization, we have been at the forefront of promoting collaborations between governments and civil society in Africa. Such collaboration resulted in the introduction of the Digital Rights and Freedoms Bill in Nigeria. It is of our firm belief that so much is possible when citizens, civil society, and government work together in shaping the future, through policy interventions that support innovation and protect the people-such as the Tanzania Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, 2021.

“Going forward, our organization together with local partners will proceed to engage parliamentarians and government officials to discuss ways through which we can collaborate to enact this Bill into law. Our team of digital rights stakeholders drawn from lawyers, academia, civil society, media, active citizens and government officials will work together to further fine-tune the Bill and provide the much needed guidance during the public participation processes. Paradigm Initiative calls on all Tanzanians to support this Bill and contribute their positions during the public participation processes to be initiated by the Parliament of Tanzania and the relevant government department.”