At the initiative of Rudi International, a group of civil society representatives came together for an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) policy workshop in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in June 2018.
A two-days’ workshop (building from a previous workshop held in Goma in June 2017) where participants had the opportunity to learn and engage into a discussion around the ICT policy landscape, look at different aspects of Internet rights in the country. Participants had the opportunity to be introduced for the first time to the African Declaration on Internet Rights whose key principles informed the discussions on the draft bill. But most importantly, they had the opportunity to study and make an in-depth analysis of the proposed Telecommunications and ICT bill which came out of the National Assembly (after adoption) on May 7th and sent to the Senate for the second reading. The government through the ICT Ministry was invited to answer questions from Senators and was able to give more light.
At Rudi International we took this opportunity to offer inputs to the new proposed law that supports citizens’ digital rights, including to privacy and data protection, freedom of expression, and access to information online. The existing Framework law No 013/2002 of 16 October 2002 on Telecommunications does not adequately address modern societal and technological realities, hence the need to come up with another one which includes aspects such as on privacy, etc. We consider this to be a positive move from the government of the DRC and look forward to engage more in this area.
This workshop was intended at reviving momentum on the draft including calls to discuss gaps within it, hence the need to have a varied group of participants that included 15 lawyers, human rights activists, bloggers and journalists who have history in digital rights activism and advocacy work in that part of the country. At the beginning of the workshop, we got in touch with the Chair of the “Commission Infrastructure et Amenagement du Territoire” that was reading the draft law within the Senate, Senator Nenyengwe who encouraged us:
“Your workshop is very important and timely as we were in need of receiving comments and inputs from end users and civil society groups. We were approached by other groups such as the private sector and received their inputs but your voice was missing. Please do send us your recommendations right after your workshop and we will take time to read and consider them for discussion in our deliberations”, he said.
Our inputs that cover/address some specific aspects of the draft law seen from an end-user’s perspective and is divided in the following sections:
- High level comments
- The rights and obligations of end-users of the telecom services
- The need for a multistakeholder approach in the management of the telecom and ICT sector
- Protection of privacy and personal data
- The need for more attention and proper legislation covering issues of cyber security and cyber crime
Download a PDF copy of our recommendations (in French and English) bellow:
Should you be interested in learning more or partnering with us for future activities in this area, do not hesitate to get in touch.