CHAPTER stages and thus creating a societal digital

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CHAPTER stages and thus creating a societal digital

CHAPTER ONE

NIGERIA’S REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS TO
INTERNET RIGHTS

The
internet is on a global platform and many of the decisions which affect the
development of the internet takes place in global fora which are concerned with
creating a world whereby the use of the internet is standardized across all
boarders. The internet which is a tool that promotes society’s development
should be protected from abuse.

The
internet usage in developed countries have been adequately maximized whereby
leaving the developing countries at the rudimentary stages and thus creating a
societal digital divide between these two groups of countries and their roles
in the digital international scenery.

With
Nigeria having at least 20% of the whole population of Africa have also taken
step both on the regional and international front to play a significant role in
ensuring access to the internet, bridging of digital divide, access to
information online, freedom of expression online amongst others.

Nigeria
who is a State party to both the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN)
has been involved in the proceeding for the passage of resolutions for internet
rights in both organisations.

The
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ rights- ACHPR/ Res. 362(LIX) 2016- Resolution
on the Right to Freedom of Information and Expression on the Internet in
Africa.

Further recalls the United Nations Human Rights
Council Resolution HRC/RES/20/8 of 2012, which recognizes “the global and open
nature of the Internet as a driving force in accelerating progress towards
development in its various forms” and affirms that “the same rights that people
have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of
expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media
of one’s choice,” and calls upon all States ” to promote and facilitate access
to the Internet and international cooperation aimed at the aimed at the
development of media and information and communications facilities in all
countries;”

Mindful of the need to bridge the digital divide
which has significantly disadvantaged the African continent

Recognizing the importance of the Internet in
advancing human and people’ rights in Africa, particularly the right to freedom
of information and expression;

Further recognizing that privacy online is important
for the right to freedom of expression and to hold opinions without
interference, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

These
among others are the content of resolution 362 which is to be respected by
State Parties. In addition, the commission also calls on States Parties to
respect and take legislative and other measures to guarantee, respect and
protect citizen’s right to freedom of information and expression through access
to internet services.

The
United Nations resolution – adopted by the Human Rights Council –A/HRC/ RES/
20/8- The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet
emphases the following among others:

Notes that the exercise of human rights, in
particular the right to freedom of expression, on the Internet is an issue of
increasing interest and importance as the rapid pace of technological
development enables individuals all over the world to use new information and
communications technologies,

Affirms that the same rights that people have
offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression,
which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s
choice, in accordance with articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The
United Nations resolution – adopted by the Human Rights Council –A/HRC/ RES/
32/13- The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet
also states among others as follows:

Notes that the exercise of human rights, in
particular the right to freedom of expression, on the Internet is an issue of
increasing interest and importance, as the rapid pace of technological
development enables individuals all over the world to use new information and
communications technology

Notes also the importance of building confidence and
trust in the Internet, not least with regard to the freedom of expression,
privacy and other human rights so that the potential of the Internet as , inter
alia, an enabler for development  and
innovation can be realized , with full cooperation between Government, civil
society, the private sector, the technical community and academia.

Emphasises that access to information on the
Internet facilities vast opportunities for affordable and inclusive education
globally, thereby being an important tool to facilitate the promotion of the
right to education, while underlining the need to address digital literacy and
the digital divide, as it affects the enjoyment of the right to education

Recognizing that, for the Internet to remain global,
open and interoperable, it is imperative the States address security concerns
in accordance with their international human rights obligations, in particular
with regard to freedom of expression, freedom of association and privacy

Deeply concerned by all human rights violations and
abuses committed against persons for exercising their human rights violations
and abuses,

However,
Nigeria as a State Party is bound by the various regional and international
instruments from both organisations which include internet rights. One of which
is article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which states that

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference
and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Although,
Nigeria in chapter four of its constitution guarantees freedom of expression,
freedom of information, right to privacy, freedom of association and peace
assembly, etc as fundamental human rights of citizens in the offline
environment but however, the constitution and other  existing national legislations, bills and
policies are silent on human rights online and even when there is any bill the
takes into consideration internet activities such bill does not meet with the
acceptable standards for protecting the rights of all citizens online.

Legislation
is however a prominent approach to solving problems in the country. In the
online environment, legislation is used to “regulate behaviour” often termed
“abuse”. We regularly see the need for the government to regulate the internet
space but in other to meet internationally acceptable standards there is need
for a favourable framework to regulate these internet activities in the online
environment.

The
Digital rights and Freedom Bill which has been drafted  to internationally acceptable standards which
includes in its core objective protection of the fundamental human rights of
every Nigerian citizen in the online environment as well as guaranteeing that
the human rights enjoying offline should also be enjoyed online.

In
addition, the Internet and Broadband have become globally acknowledged as the
foundation for transformation to a knowledge-based economy and the Federal
Government has deemed it fit to have a Nigerian national broadband plan
2013-2018 which has a vision for Nigeria to be one of the society with high
speed internet and broadband access that facilities faster socio- economic
advancement of the nation and its citizens.

However
the national broadband plan has been slowly implemented which has become cause
for concern and worry among the stakeholders in Nigeria’s $70 billion telecommunications
sector. They are also worried that the benefits that should have been accruing
to the economy, is being stalled by slow implementation and lack of proper
direction.

 

 

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