The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) will on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, convene a meeting of civil society organisations in Ghana in a forum to deliberate over Ghana’s Cybersecurity Act 2020 (Act 1038).
The forum, which will bring together stakeholders from government, civil society, academia, and media, will discuss cybersecurity issues generally. The meeting will also specifically focus on the roles CSOs and other stakeholders can play to ensure the effective implementation of Ghana’s Cybersecurity Act 2020.
Globally, there are rising concerns about cybersecurity issues because of the serious ramifications cybersecurity breaches can have on critical infrastructures of government; educational, banking, and financial institutions; telecom operators; national security; among others.
To mitigate this, a lot of interventions are being deployed at the global and national levels to safeguard security in cyberspaces. In 2015, for example, the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) agreed on 11 voluntary, non-binding norms for responsible behaviour of States with the aim of promoting an open, secure, stable, accessible, and peaceful ICT environment. The norms were adopted by the General Assembly and subsequently endorsed by all Member States, including Ghana.
Beyond endorsing the global cyber norms, Ghana passed its Cybersecurity Act in 2020 to facilitate cybersecurity development and respond to cybersecurity issues. Fortunately, the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) has also been set up to implement the Act and regulate the cybersecurity ecosystem in the country.
It is, however, not too clear the extent to which stakeholders, especially civil society organisations within Ghana’s internet ecosystem know about the Act and their roles in contributing to ensure that the Act is implemented successfully to safeguard online safety without compromising the rights of people.
A brief baseline study conducted by the MFWA about knowledge levels of the Cybersecurity Act ahead of the forum shows that many CSOs and media personnel, for example, merely know about the existence of the Act. Consequently, they are not engaging it in their work.
The forum is, therefore, intended to create more awareness about the Cybersecurity Act and unpack the specific roles civil society actors can play to ensure its successful implementation to safeguard online safety while protecting the rights of people.
Outcomes of the forum will be documented in a policy brief which will be widely publicised and used for further engagements and advocacy.
The forum is being organised under the MFWA’s project on shaping global cyber norms which is being funded by the UK-based Global Partners Digital Limited.