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East Africa Digital Rights and Online Freedom of Expression Litigation Surgery 2019 for Lawyers in East Africa

The Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) will be running a litigation surgery on the right to online freedom of expression, digital rights and the internet. This specialised, fully funded, legal workshop is for lawyers based in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.  Applications are currently open.

Application Deadline: 7th February 2019

Eligible Countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda

To be taken at (country): Kampala, Uganda

About the Award: MLDI provides legal support to journalists, bloggers and independent media. In recent years, MLDI has supported a significant number of cases involving online media. These have included challenging social media blocking and internet shutdowns, contesting cybercrimes legislation, ‘false news’ laws and intermediary liability, as well as calling for greater protections for online privacy and protection of journalistic sources.

Specifically, the objectives of the litigation surgery training are:

  • To equip participants with the skills and knowledge to litigate using national and international laws as well as regional and international mechanisms relevant to freedom of expression online;
  • To build a digital rights network and help facilitate its engagement with international legal mechanisms and global civil society initiatives; and  
  • To assist and develop working relationships between lawyers undertaking such cases.

Type: Training

Eligibility: Participants will be selected on the following criteria:

  • The surgery is open to lawyers who work and reside in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda;
  • Applicants can either be working in private practice or be working for or be affiliated with NGOs promoting the right to freedom of expression in East Africa through litigation. Exceptionally strong applications will be considered from lawyers who have not yet undertaken freedom of expression work, but have experience litigating other human rights cases and have a strong interest in undertaking freedom of expression work;
  • Applicants must be proficient in English;
  • Applicants must have a demonstrated interest in and/or knowledge of the right to online freedom of expression, digital rights, internet freedom and/or related issues;
  • The lawyers must have a demonstrated interest in and/or knowledge of international and regional human rights law;
  • As part of the application, interested lawyers are asked to submit a case study of a case which they are either litigating or intend to litigate and that could be discussed during the litigation surgery. For participants who do not have a case that is pending it will suffice to have identified a relevant law, practice or policy relating to online freedom of expression that they would like to challenge in court. However, such participants must demonstrate their ability and willingness to pursue the case after the surgery;
  • The cases submitted must involve a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression online;
  • The following non-exhaustive list of themes are a guide for the type of cases that could be submitted with the application: 
    • Cybercrime laws;
    • Intermediary liability;
    • Internet shutdowns;
    • Restriction of online media;
    • Online privacy;
    • National security; and
    • Anonymity online.

MDLI is committed to advancing equality and diversity; and will therefore consider gender, age, and country of origin in the selection of participants.

Number of Awards: A maximum of 12 participants will attend the training. 

Value of Award: MLDI will cover airfare, accommodation, travel expenses and a modest per diem.  

Duration of Programme: 8 – 12 April 2019

How to Apply: 

  • It is important to go through all application requirements on the Programme Webpage see link below) before applying

Visit Programme Webpage for Details

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