Digital Rights experts have questioned the high cost of Internet data in many African countries, saying the prohibitive cost makes it difficult for many citizens with poor economic means to access the Internet.
The experts spoke at the Internet Freedom Forum #IFF2018 organised by Paradigm Initiative.
Speaking at the Forum, the Co-Founder of Witness Radio, Jess Ssebaggala said, “The Internet is still expensive for too many people in many countries which is a big problem for expanding access. There are too many people below the poverty line in many African countries and it would be difficult to expand access to internet without reducing the cost of access for users.”
Also speaking on the subject, the Executive Director of Internet Without Borders, Julie Owono said, “There’s no point talking about digital rights when there is no access to digital technologies and the Internet.”
Experts who spoke at the 3-Day international forum were drawn from from over thirty African countries. They took their turn to speak on the state of internet in their respective countries and the danger facing the openness of internet.
According to the Director of Programs of Paradigm Initiative, Tope Ogundipe, “it is obvious from the conversation that so many African countries suffer from blatant rights violations, mostly perpetrated by the government.
“African countries should invest in expanding access to the internet instead of wasting resources on shutting down the internet and spying on their citizens. In a continent where internet penetration is still below 50%, we should not be begging government not to shut down the internet.”
The Internet Freedom Forum is an initiative of Paradigm Initiative and the 2018 edition was supported by organisations including Google, Ford Foundation, The Guardian, Mozilla and Premium Times.