Monthly Digest: February 2021

March 4, 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 this 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 eases social media curbs, but Facebook still off

Almost one month after internet and social media channels were shut down, the government, on February 10 lifted the restrictions on social media networks, except for Facebook which remains only accessible through Virtual Private Network.

#KeepItOn:2021 Elections Watch

The internet and social media platforms play a critical role in enhancing participatory governance in democratic societies. They provide space for communicating, public debate, seeking information on election processes and candidates, reporting and documenting events and outcomes. With at least a dozen countries—where there has been a history of internet shutdowns going to the polls in 2021, there is a growing call to keep the internet on during the elections.

Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt…the hidden cost of internet blackouts

Ahead of the general election in Uganda in January, the government shut down the internet and social media networks. These shutdowns from Uganda to Egypt to Ethiopia have had negative impacts on individuals and businesses that rely on the internet and social media to operate.

Digital Rights in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya throttled by COVID-19 regulations

COVID-19 related legislation, surveillance practices and implementation of regulations have led to the erosion of offline civil liberties in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. And this has affected people’s digital rights, including the right to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy.

Digital Security and safety for journalists

Across the world, journalists are being strongly urged to protect their communications and information from growing threats. To help promote digital security, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) has put together this important guide and resources.

Facebook explains why it blocked pro-NRM blog accounts prior to general elections

Ahead of the January 2021 elections in Uganda, Facebook removed over 400 accounts from its platforms for violating government interference policy. Many of the accounts were linked to the country’s ministry of information, which was accused of using fake and duplicated accounts to post ahead of the elections.

The cost of digital exclusion

Majority of women across the world are not connected to the internet. What does that mean for the world in terms of economic opportunities, scientific innovations and societal transformations? This summary report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet and Web Foundation explains the impact digital exclusion can have.

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.

Podcast #5 Impacts of the Internet Shutdown

On the eve of the presidential and Parliamentary elections in Uganda, Ugandans were locked out in a total internet shut down. Online activity was brought to a stand still for close to five days, when there was a partial uplift on the shutdown. In this episode we are joined by Juliet Nanfuka of CIPESA and Jimmy Haguma of Uganda Police, to discuss and explore the impact of the recent internet shutdown on Ugandans.

New campaign puts Women Human Rights Defenders in the spotlight

Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) face a variety of threats and challenges every day, which often manifest differently from the general threats that human rights defenders are confronted with. The #StandWithWHRDs campaign run by DefendDefenders and African Defenders aims to spotlight the work of women human rights defenders and their protection needs.

Unwanted Witness concerned over prolonged social media restriction in Uganda, says VPNs come with a lot of risks

With continued restrictions on some social media networks, many Ugandan users have continued to use Virtual Private Networks to access platforms such as Facebook. But this comes at a risk, including the threat of data manipulation.

Opportunities I Tips I Resources

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

DataFest Kampala 2021

More than ever before, we cannot be separated from data. From Finance, to entertainment, to health care, data hold the answers to how we can make our lives better. That is why the upcoming DataFest 2021 is an interesting event you don’t want to miss. There’s a call for Speakers, Collaborations and registration to attend that can be found on the Pollicy website.

Call for Proposals: Defending Digital Rights through Policy Advocacy

Are you a recipient of the Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF)? Do you want to advance digital rights in Africa? The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa has partnered with the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) to support select current or previous grantees to deploy a six-month policy advocacy campaign that furthers the conversation on internet freedom. You can use the application form to apply.

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