The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has urged countries in West Africa to involve all stakeholders in the process of formulating legislations that seek to govern the internet to ensure that such legal frameworks are comprehensive and responsive to the needs of all segments of society.
The call is part of recommendations made by the MFWA in its Internet Rights Monitoring Report for the third quarter of 2018 (July-September)
The report shows that governments in West Africa are increasingly formulating laws and policies to to govern and shape the digital environment, sometimes without much consultation with the key stakeholders.
For instance, in Senegal a draft Electronic Communications Bill aimed at regulating electronic communications was withdrawn for reconsideration following concerns raised by civil society organisations. Similarly, the government of Benin had to withdraw a new communication tax policy after a spirited protest from the public which said the policy made communication transactions too expensive.
To enhance online safety and promote digital rights in West Africa, the MFWA calls on governments and stakeholders to work towards adopting a multi-stakeholder approach towards the formulation of Internet related legislations.
The Internet Report which discusses the challenges confronting Internet access and use in the region, covers eight countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal and The Gambia.
Four out of these eight countries recorded incidents of digital right violations.
Click here to read the full report.