INTERNATIONAL WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS DAY 2022.

Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) are at the forefront of great crises. Today on 29 November as we mark International Women Human Rights Defenders Day and in line with #16DaysOfActivism, let us #UNiTE to end all forms of Online Gender Based Violence against WHRDs in all our diversity. Remember that our digital rights are an extension of human rights, hence, deserve support and protection both online and offline.

#BanOnlineViolence #SeeSomethingSaySomethingUG

#16Days 2022: Connect, Collaborate, Contract.

In this episode #WomenSpeaking on Civic Space TV hosted by Tricia Nabaye, watch as our Administration and Coordinations Lead, Murungi Sanyu joins Susan Achen (Uganda Women’s Network) and Naima Isa Sebbi (Actionaid International Uganda) in a conversation that unpacks the importance and relevance of 16 Days Of Activism under the theme: Connect, Collaborate, Contract via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPDECLFroNM

Relationship Between Gender, Women’s Rights, Governance and The Internet.

Watch now as our Administration and Coordination Lead, Murungi Sanyu engages in this conversation #WomenSpeaking at Civic Space Tv with Esther Nyapendi (Assistant Technical Support Office, Women of Uganda Network), Abiro Mercy (Co-Founder, Gender Tech Initiative) and host, Birungi Primah on the Relationship Between Gender, Women’s Rights, Governance and The Internet here;

COMPUTER MISUSE AMENDMENT ACT 2022 #DYK AWARENESS CAMPAIGN.

HER Internet in conjunction with Kuchu Times Media Group kickstarted a week long #DYK social media campaign from Monday 24 October 2022 to Tuesday 1 November 2022 with #HerOnlineSafety and #ComputerMisuseAct following the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Act 2022 being signed into law by President Museveni.

The objective of this campaign was to share information about the facts, pros, cons as well as raise awareness on the impacts and recommendations of the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Act 2022. This move was made in order to curb the spread of misinformation and disinformation that had stirred a lot of tension, panic and fear that comes with the introduction of new laws perceived to further discrimination and marginalization of already structurally silenced groups especially in Uganda. For more information, check out our social media platforms #DYK #HerOnlineSafety #ComputerMisuseAct.

PRESS RELEASE: HER INTERNET LAUNCHES DIGITAL RIGHTS ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN.

This October, HER Internet has launched a Digital Rights Advocacy campaign via our social media platforms, with funding from Internews. The campaign running with the hashtags #SpeakFreelyTypeFreely and #SeeSomethingSaySomethingUG, will carry on for 9 weeks targeting womxn, particularly LBQ womxn and female sex workers. The goal of the campaign is to build awareness on their digital right to freedom of speech and expression, and to empower them to take charge of their digital body and online activity while creating safe spaces for expression for all online.

The Founder and Executive Director at HER Internet, Sandra Kwikiriza, says that enjoyment of our digital rights especially freedom of speech and expression will not happen in a vacuum. “We have to actively push-back against any infringement on this inherent right by all means available to us. This includes using the internet and social networking platforms to amplify advocacy efforts and organizing,” Ms Kwikiriza emphasizes.

To further awareness and conversation around the campaign, HER Internet hosted a Twitter Space on 19 October, 2022 titled “Contextualising the digital right to freedom of speech and expression”.

“This Twitter Space has been organized to position the campaign within the political and legal landscape for our key audiences and how this could apply to their daily use of the internet: their freedoms and potential infringements and violations, as well as the importance of speaking out against this,” said Ms Kwikiriza.

The well-attended Twitter Space yielded great discussion from the speakers who tackled important topics including the opportunities and shortfalls of digital freedom of speech and expression, how structurally silenced womxn can begin to build community and safe spaces online, how to navigate the legal pitfalls of double-edged policies and laws and opportunities for holding different players accountable from big tech to policy and lawmakers and enforcers, and at individual level. 

Samantha Ainembabazi, an Editor at Kuchu Times Media, emphasized the role that the internet plays in amplifying the voices of structurally marginalized womxn that are often sidelined by mainstream media. However, she also cautioned listeners on the two-edged nature of the internet where womxn are often forced to self-censor to avoid being hyper-visible and susceptible to backlash which is oftentimes damaging.

“For someone to say my life is in danger digitally, there’s levels to it. You could not be abducted, but there are certain things that happen to you online that affect you gravely in the flesh – like your mental health, your esteem, or even the people you could have helped,” said Ms Ainembabazi of womxn who are more engaged online.

Ms Cecilia Maundu, a Digital Security Trainer and Broadcast Journalist in Kenya also shared how an unsafe internet for all worsens inequalities for marginalized groups through self-censorship.

“Unfortunately, when this happens, we find that it is only certain groups that can reap what we call the digital dividends. If we keep on going the way we are going, we are going to lose so may voices over the next generation,” added Ms Maundu.

Ms Maundu and Ms Ainembabazi also offered some solutions to the issues that were raised, ranging from working with marginalized womxn and groups to build communities of support and allyship that will collectively advocate for favorable digital laws and policies, and also combat online violence; and undertaking sensitization drives to educate digital users on the different policies and how these could protect them or put them at risk for collective and individual action and accountability.

“We act like people come from Mars and spread hate. It’s us that are doing these things online. Before we start complaining about people hating towards us, we should probably look around and see how we’re treating other groups of people, people whose opinions differ from ours,” concluded Ms Ainembabazi in a call for all internet users to do their part.

HER Internet’s campaign’s hashtag #SpeakFreelyTypeFreely draws on the insight that the same rights that are enjoyed by people offline to express themselves should also be enjoyed online and calls on everyone to make it safe for people to express themselves freely, while #SeeSomethingSaySomethingUG encourages all internet users to call out any violation or infringement upon their digital rights or the rights of others.

To get involved or participate, follow HER Internet via our social media pages: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook through #SpeakFreelyTypeFreely and #SeeSomethingSaySomethingUG. You can also listen in to this conversation by clicking; https://twitter.com/HerInternet/status/1582739426764935169?t=5ntJu6zqASE-VraNpGCRVw&s=19

***Ends***

ONLINE SAFETY TIPS BROCHURE

Copy of HI-Online safety tips

As we gear up for Cybersecurity Awareness Month due this month of October under the theme, here is a free download of our Online Safety Tips brochure which will give you a nudge to effortlessly step up your security as you navigate through digital spaces:

MISINFORMATION AND DISINFORMATION ADVOCACY DRIVE CROWNED WITH DIALOGUE.

Last week, HER Internet hosted a two days’ workshop on Misinformation and Disinformation in Kampala on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st September 2022 following a one month long social media advocacy drive. The initiative which was supported by Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Central Africa (CIPESA) sought to empower structurally silenced women especially LBQ womxn with knowledge on how to identify and combat the effects of false or untrue information in this digital age.

“Misinformation and disinformation are out of everyone’s control. It is hard to bring the train back after information has been spread out there. So, the best thing to do is to sensitize about misinformation and disinformation so we can address the issue,” the Executive Director at HER Internet, Sandra Kwikiriza explained to the participants on the relevance and importance of the workshop during her introductory remarks

Kettie Kahume, HER Internet’s Deputy Executive Director and one of the Facilitators of the dialogues shared in a presentation on the genesis of sharing falsehoods over factual information especially when it comes to marginalized womxn. “Misinformation has always been there as an old tactic of social manipulation… It is as a result of information overload well as disinformation is as a result of information scarcity,” Kettie noted.

Participants delved into topics of discussion that encompassed manifestations, effects and solutions to misinformation and disinformation, understanding their role in peddling fake information and how to verify information in this digital age. Check out @HerInternet via social media: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more information on this topic.

Diana Karungi, Communications Lead at HER Internet guides a conversation on Misinformation.

UNDERSTANDING MISINFORMATION AND DISINFORMATION BOOKLET.

https://www.herinternet.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/MD-Presentation-1-1.pdf

Information has real-life consequences. It can save lives, literally – when it’s true. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Untrue information can cause great harm. Wrong information can spread widely, like a virus, causing what’s been called an infodemic.

Let’s make the internet safe together! To read more, please click;

Cyber laws' dialogue in Western region, Kasese.

REGIONAL CYBER LAWS’ SENSITIZATION DIALOGUES IN UGANDA.

HER Internet hosted regional sensitization dialogues on the existence and implementation of Cyber Laws in three different parts across the country; Eastern Uganda in Malaba, Western Uganda in Kasese and Northern Uganda in Gulu on 26 July, 8 August and 22 August 2022 respectively with support from UHAI- EASHRI and the Fund for Global Human Rights under the Legal Empowerment Fund (LEF).

The dialogues were organized in an endeavor to impart systemically marginalized womxn with knowledge on the existing cyber laws enshrined in Uganda’s constitution, how they operate, their implications and recommendations following brainstorm sessions on the manifestations of online violence in addition to the challenges and impacts of internet usage based on their various contexts.

Highlighting the fact that the spiraling cases of gender-based violence today are birthed online and raising concerns for digital safety, our Executive Director at HER Internet, Sandra Kwikiriza emphasized that there is a need to upgrade the current traditional cyber laws to match this digital era and thus, ensure that all forms of online violence against womxn are alleviated. For information on these pieces of legislation, how they can be used to mitigate risks of online violence and seek for redress in courts of law, please click, https://www.herinternet.org/womxns-rights-and-icts-under-the-law/

Participants in Gulu, Northern Uganda talk about their experiences with online violence and how it transcends into their daily lives.

Womxn’s Rights and ICTs under the Law.

https://www.herinternet.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Guide-to-Cyber-Laws-2.pdf

Now Available: You can now read our publication Womxn’s Rights and ICTs: A guide to navigating cyber laws in Uganda which gives insights on the existing cyber laws, their implementation and recommendations on how this legislation can be utilized by structurally silenced womxn in Uganda especially lesbians, bisexual and queer (LBQ) womxn and female sex workers (FSWs) to address the challenges of online violence that they experience.