Digital Space Case Digest

The internet has enabled an expansion of civic space and a fuller enjoyment of fundamental rights, although this has not necessarily been welcome in all states. The right to receive, seek and impart information is well-entrenched under international law – through, for instance, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) – as well as in many domestic laws across the continent. However, the reality on the ground in achieving the realization of the rights gives rise to concern. The growing importance of the internet in Africa has been accompanied by attempts of authoritarian governments to control the digital flow of information and communication through internet shutdowns, censorship, and surveillance. The increase in internet shutdowns, crackdown on human rights defenders, and civil societies in recent years in East Africa demonstrates the worrying trend of governments’ attempts to restrict freedom of expression in the digital realm.
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