By Samuel Ouma
Enough is Enough Nigeria, BudgIT Foundation, and Paradigm Initiative are set to host the fifth edition of the New Media, Citizens and Governance (NMCG) conference.
Under the theme ‘Protecting Digital Rights in Closing Spaces’, the conference will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, Nigeria.
The one-day event will bring together more than 300 registered delegates across Africa, with keynote speakers and dignitaries drawn from Cameroon, South Africa, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Ghana, and Kenya.
According to Oluseun Onigbinde, global director of BudgIT, the year’s edition has been created to spark discussions around Africa’s digital economic space, social media limitations and shutdowns, data privacy, elections and public accountability, marginalization, and cyber 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,” said Gbenga Sesan.
On his part, 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 said.