Module 2: Introduction to Digital Rights
Digital rights are human rights in the digital realm. The term ‘digital rights’ speaks to questions around how the same rights that have always been fundamental to all humans — such as freedom of expression, privacy and access to information — are exercised and protected in the era of the internet, social media and technology.
There is a tension between human rights and freedoms, and the rise in restrictions of access to online spaces, which is continuing with increased political polarisation and the growing powers of non-state actors. Protecting and developing online spaces where human rights can be respected and promoted requires effective responses to oppressive regulations, and innovative solutions.
Additionally, understanding digital rights is crucial to being able to protect fundamental human rights in any domain, as very little of our lives today is immune from the forces of technology and the internet that have reshaped how humans communicate, participate and behave. Digital rights are the rights that apply in these spaces, including the particular nuances which come with the application of human rights online. This module seeks to provide an overview of digital rights and the trends affecting freedom of expression online in Africa.