Monthly Digest: April 2021

May 3, 2021

Whether it's opinions on fostering digital human rights - or simply the valuable lessons learned along the way, here is the Digital Human Rights Lab's round-up of the last month's most interesting articles and stories.


Must-Read Articles of the Month

Whether it's opinions on fostering digital human rights - or simply the valuable lessons learned along the way, here's a round-up of the past month's most interesting articles and stories.

Uganda introduces 12% internet data levy, critics say move will stifle online access

Uganda says it has introduced a 12% tax on internet data, potentially hiking prices for online access in the east African country where consumers are already paying some of the world's highest internet costs.

Uganda’s social media tax failed, so now it wants to tax internet access

Since 2018, subscribers have been required to pay a daily tax of Shs200 to use any of the more than 50 OTT mobile communications apps, including social media services such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. Now instead of paying tax to access social media platforms, citizens will instead pay an extra tax on internet bundles.

Restricting digital media is a gamble for African leaders

Many leaders seem threatened by the way digital media make it possible to share information and organise. Research shows that in 2020, there were 156 full or partial shutdowns of the internet or social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp globally. In Africa, at least 20 shutdowns affecting 12 countries were reported in 2020.

A ground-breaking tool for reporting violations of digital rights in Africa

How can digital rights be protected across the African continent? The Paradigm Initiative (PIN) has a solution. It has launched a ground-breaking new platform dubbed Ripoti, which will allow citizens across Africa to report violations of their digital rights, and then connect them with experts who can help them seek justice. Ripoti is the first platform of its kind on the African continent.

New report highlights technology assisted violence among sexual minorities and sex workers in Uganda

In Uganda and globally, women continue to face increased online harassment, blackmail and extortion. In addition, the non-consensual sharing of private information and other forms of cybercrime, surveillance and censorship unduly target minority women because of their unique circumstances, including their sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and or choice of work, as this new report by HER Internet shows.

Women are talking but Telegram is not listening

In a lot of African countries, Telegram has seen success due to a set of factors that make it a niche platform on the continent. But as this article argues, the reasons that make Telegram popular on the continent are the same that predispose it to being a go-to app for online abuse and harassment of women.

What happened with digital rights in Africa in Q1 2021?

Internet and digital access have deepened across Africa in the past 20 years, in the process ushering in new vistas of human development. An important dimension of this development has been the expansion of new media, where new technologies such as social media have given voices to the hitherto voiceless and amplifying once stifled perspectives.

Community Updates

With so much going on it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening in the world of social impact. Stay informed and inspired with our handpicked content from the DHRLab Community.

Disabled but not disqualified; New report calls for inclusion of PWDs

As ICTs take centre stage in our daily lives—for communication, information sharing, financial transactions among others, persons with disabilities continue to experience limited access, awareness and acquisition of needed technology products. In this new research jointly conducted by Pollicy and the Digital Human Rights Lab, the cost of ICTs and assistive devices continues to remain a key barrier for the majority of persons with disabilities.

Digital Human Rights Lab Call For Strengthening of Human Rights in the Digital Age

The Digital Human Rights and Inclusion Forum 2021 focused on best practices and exchanging perspectives on how to strengthen the effectiveness of human rights through the use of digital innovation competencies and instruments.

Unseen Eyes, Unheard Stories: Covid-19 Surveillance Measures and their Human Rights Implications

How has COVID-19 surveillance in Uganda and Kenya undermined people’s rights to privacy and access to information? According to this new report by Pollicy and Article 19, some of the measures adopted to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, including coronavirus apps did not comply with international and national laws guaranteeing the rights to privacy, data protection and freedom of expression.

Data Fest Kampala 2021

Data Fest 2021 was successfully held in Kampala from April 29-30. Under the theme, Living with Data, the two-day event which was hosted both physically and virtually explored a number of issues including the importance of data in everyday human interactions, protecting human rights in the digital age, how data can influence the creative industry, the danger of bad data among others.

For those who missed, you can watch the discussions of what transpired here.

Unwanted Witness: Privacy Scorecard

Do you know the value of your personal data? How can you ensure that your data is safe and protected by both public and private entities in line with the Data Protection Act, 2019? Recently, Unwanted Witness held a #PrivacyScoreCard webinar to discuss the Act and the role of stakeholders in ensuring compliance. You can watch the conversation here

Opportunities | Tips | Resources

Every month, we collate the best opportunities, tips and resources for digital human rights practitioners in our community.

Africa Internet Summit 2021

The Africa Internet Summit (AIS) is an annual, regional, multi-stakeholder ICT conference that will be held virtually from May 31 to June 4, 2021. It will bring together the African internet community drawn from academia, public and private sector and the civil society to discuss internet development issues and challenges in general.

APC seeks Lead editor

Are you a skilled writer who can develop analytical content? The Association of Progressive Communications (APC) is looking for a lead editor who will lead the organization’s editorial plan. Deadline to submit your application is May 14, 2021. You can find details on this opportunity here.

Internet Governance Forum 2021: A call for proposals

The 16th annual IGF meeting will be hosted by the Government of Poland in Katowice from December 6-10 under the theme, Internet United. The meeting will adopt a hybrid format, including both on-site and virtual engagements. Programme stakeholders can apply to organise different types of sessions by May 26.

Virtual Go Open data conference 2021

The 2021 GO Open Data conference will be held virtually for the first time. Go Open Data is an annual conference that is attended by sectors interested in learning about and promoting the creation and use of open data and sharing knowledge in the open community. This year’s conference will run from May 6-8. Here is how you can participate in the conference.

If you have an activity, article or up-coming event that you would like to share with the DHRLab Community, please email or