AfDEC calls for a more equitable Internet following COVID-19

The African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms (AfDEC), an advocacy coalition on digital rights in Africa, has issued a position paper on the Internet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper calls for a more equitable Internet, pointing out policies and laws that many African governments need to change in order to facilitate Internet access for all. According to the paper, ‘there is a need for a stronger campaign against consumer-facing taxes on data and internet services, which have had long-standing effects of in-creasing connectivity costs for consumers, a scenario likely to worsen during the pandemic. Tax and licensing regimes of note in the region include the social media tax in Uganda, and licensing fees for bloggers and other online content producers in Tanzania and Kenya’.

AfDEC has also raised concerns over growing trends during COVID-19, such as limiting the freedom and access of information; censorship; and the violations of the right to privacy with a ‘lack of transparency by governments and telecommunications companies in the sharing of information for contact tracing and distribution of aid and relief funds’.