Six Digital Rights Organizations Begin GNI-Internews Fellowships

GNI and Internews are pleased to welcome six global civil society organizations (CSOs) working at the intersection of technology and human rights as fellows in 2019.  Leveraging fellows’ unique expertise and experience, the fellowships will enhance regional, on-the-ground collaboration between companies and CSOs in support of laws and policies promoting freedom of expression and privacy around the world.

About the Fellowship

GNI, in coordination with Internews, is able to offer twelve fellowships over the next two years to enable organizations from Latin America, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa to participate in GNI. The first six fellows— four current GNI members and two digital rights groups engaging with GNI for the first time — begin their engagement with GNI this month. The second group of six organizations will begin fellowships this fall.

With specialized mentorship and support, fellows will be able to contribute to GNI’s learning and policy activities, including travel to GNI events, policy and advocacy meetings, and Board meetings. The fellowship provides new opportunities for research and multi-stakeholder policy engagement, both for fellows as well as for other participants in GNI as they engage with and learn from fellows’ expertise. The fellowship continues GNI’s effort to diversify our membership and build capacity to promote rights-respecting laws and policies worldwide; since 2017, nine new civil society groups from outside of Europe and the United States have become GNI members. At the successful conclusion of their fellowship, fellows who are not yet members of GNI may elect to join.

About the Fellows

Fellows have exceptional experience advocating for Internet policies that respect human rights at the national and international levels, including GNI’s four core policy areas of intermediary liability, network disruptions, surveillance, and jurisdictional assertions and limits.

The fellows joining this spring include AfroLeadership, The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa, Derechos Digitales, Digital Empowerment Foundation, el Instituto Panameño de Derecho y Nuevas Tecnologías, and the Software Freedom Law Centre, India.

Cameroon-based AfroLeadership promotes digital rights, human rights, freedom of expression, and democracy and governance, including via coalition-building. Recently, they led a campaign to raise awareness of digital rights and freedom of expression issues in response to the prolonged 2016 Internet shutdown in the English-speaking part of Cameroon.

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa, also known widely as CIPESA, is based in Uganda and joined GNI in 2018. They work to advance rights-respecting Internet policies in East and Southern Africa through research and advocacy. Notable contributions to Internet freedom advocacy and analysis include yearly reports mapping the state of Internet freedom on the continent, numerous country-level in-depth legal analyses, and the convening of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa.

Derechos Digitales, who joined GNI in Fall 2017, are based in Chile and document the digital rights impacts of legal and regulatory frameworks throughout Latin America. They publish an annual “Latin America in a Glimpse” report, and produce reports and analyses examining digital rights in countries across Latin America. In addition, Derechos Digitales regularly contributes to expert sessions at international and regional convenings of diverse stakeholders.

The Digital Empowerment Foundation is based in India and joined GNI in 2017. They seek to empower marginalized communities to access, consume, and produce quality information online, and they regularly undertake policy advocacy and research in support of this aim. Recently, they have hosted local workshops on Internet shutdowns and led conversations that explore the intersection of law, gender, and digital rights.

Through analysis, advocacy, research, and legislative monitoring, the Panama-based Instituto Panameño de Derecho y Nuevas Tecnologías, widely known as IPANDETEC, has become a leading voice on digital rights in Central America. They recently co-convened the fourth Forum on Privacy and Data Protection in Central America, and they are key contributors to the Latin America Internet Governance Forum and the Panama Internet Governance Forum.

Finally, the Software Freedom Law Centre, India joined GNI in Spring 2018. They bring lawyers, policy analysts, technologists, and students together to protect freedom in the digital world by sharing free legal advice and engaging with policymakers. Widely known as, the organization recently published concerns on draft amendments to guidelines for online intermediaries in India, and have tracked Internet shutdowns in the country since 2012.

For questions about the fellowship, please contact [email protected].