We have defined four regions (East Africa, Western Africa, Southern Africa, and MENA), each comprising 5 carefully selected target countries. In addition to selecting countries that Small Media and its partners have experience working in, 21 countries were selected in total after being subjected to the following rubric of qualifying criteria.
Scheduled for review during the third cycle of the UPR (2017-2021)
Known for internet freedom violations
They are ‘swing states’ or ‘emerging markets’ per WRR Policy Brief
They did not vote for the adoption of the ITRs at WCIT-12
A review of the UPR recommendations submitted during previous cycles for these countries has shown a lack of targeting of internet freedom issues. Through our selection mechanism we have identified countries where there is the most scope for guiding through positive legislation and policy frameworks to govern internet use.
Our methodology ties in with the Netherlands’ overall objective to grow the coalition of countries convinced that a free, open, and secure internet is in their own national interests by broadening the participation of countries in discussions about cyber issues, strengthening public/private partnerships and multistakeholder decision-making, and, most importantly, developing cyber-related knowledge and expertise in third countries.
After decades of conflict, internet penetration rates remain exceptionally low in Afghanistan, with the ITU estimating that only 10.6% of the population were online in 2016.
The 2013 amendment to the Criminal Code and 2013 amendments to the 2009 Information and Communication Act serve to penalise using the internet to be critical of officials.
Article 26 of the 2010 State Security Law prohibits insulting the country or the president and the 2006 Press Law holds authors and editors liable for libellous content.
A number of websites remain blocked in the country and there are numerous arrests, monthly, of internet users, often for posting ‘immoral’ content or talking about sensitive topics.
The 2013 Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA) resulted in a large number of internet users being arrested or questioned regarding their use of the internet to criticise government officials up to April 2016, when the law was declared unconstitutional.
Freedom of expression and access to information have declined dramatically since the failed 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan, with social media sites coming under sustained assault by the Turkish government.
The authorities regularly invoke criminal and civil libel laws to harass and intimidate journalists. Internet access is not restricted, but poor infrastructure and high costs limit usage.
Malawi recently signed the 2017 Transactions Bill (E-Bill) into law. It allows for restrictions to online communications and the means to restrict internet access in general. There are a number of reports of censorship and blocking in Malawi.
The Bureau of Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Rights often arrests, interrogates and/or physically attacks those that are critical of the government and religious establishment.
The 2009 Communications Act allows the government to monitor telephone calls, e-mail, and internet usage without a warrant.
Despite there being no official government restrictions on internet use and access, opposition leaders claim widespread surveillance of online communications.
There have been attempts by the government to implement SIM registration laws as a means to identify users that post ‘immoral’ content.
‘Immoral’ content is blocked in Sudan and the strict IT Crime Act has resulted in a number of arrests and prosecutions of internet users.
During elections, there have been reports of sites going down, and the government has required media users to register their details with the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority.
In April 2016, President Robert Mugabe also stated that the country would emulate China’s ‘Great Firewall’ in order to regulate internet access.