The world has just celebrated World Press Freedom Day whose theme was ‘’Information as a public good’. Bloggers form a significant number of media practitioners informing, educating, or entertaining the masses about so many issues. They are also known to be fierce advocates for or against issues bedeviling various societies. In their quest to do their job well and without any fear, bloggers often find themselves in hot soup with governments, law, and huge and corporations with very deep pockets.
So what is a blogger to do?
Well all is not lost as there are organizations that can take up your case and help you
1.Blogger Association Of Kenya
They say charity begins at home and whether you are a seasoned blogger or are new in the field, then you should be a member of the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). Founded in 2011, it is a community organization of Kenyan bloggers and content creators that promotes online content creation & free expression in Kenya from all areas of interest and expertise. So whether it is an online newspaper, blogs, podcasts, or video blogs (vlogs) in Kenya then you should be under this umbrella body. In case of any problem, they can help you with litigation which entails hiring a lawyer to represent the member when arrested and if also arraigned in court.
Additionally, the body also undertakes public interest litigation on laws that do not conform to the constitution. Specifically, laws that limit freedom of expression beyond the constitutionally limited provisions will be challenged in court. A good case in point was May 2018, when the body took the government to court to challenge the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018 as they found 26 provisions of the Law infringe on the constitution as well as international standards and statutes on freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
If you are not a member you can become a member and in case of any problem you can take it up with the association.
Recently launched, RIPOTI is a new platform that is specifically designed for the protection of the digital rights of all African citizens. It was launched on 30th April 2021 by the Paradigm Initiative, during the closing session of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum 2021.
The platform was conceived as an easy way for individuals, organizations, and others to report cases of digital rights violations that they experience, witness, or that are reported to them. The platform allows for a community response to these cases. It is available in both English and French and was developed in partnership with the Omidyar Network and the Netherlands Embassy.
“Digital rights are just as fundamental as all other human rights,” said ‘Gbenga Sesan, Director of Paradigm Initiative. “We have seen a worrying increase in digital rights violations across Africa. Until now, citizens have had no easy way to protect their rights by tracking and reporting these violations. Ripoti empowers them to do that.”
“For many years, Paradigm Initiative has actively documented cases of digital rights violations and offered litigation support to victims,” said Boye Adegoke, Senior program manager at Paradigm Initiative. “Eventually, we started to get overwhelmed by the number of violations we had to monitor. It became clear that we needed to create a communal, strategic, and systemic response to these many incidents of digital rights violations. RIPOTI is the answer, and we’re excited to share it with people across Africa.”
All you need to do is visit www.ripoti.africa and click “make a report” and then fill in the various dropdown options, including the report type to be made, region etc., after which you will be asked to agree to the terms and you will then be contacted based on the details of your report.
- Safety of Journalists in Africa
This is yet another platform that can help bloggers, especially those who also double up as trained and practicing media practitioners. The African media stakeholders established the digital platform for the safety of journalists in Africa in 2020.
The Digital Platform aims at promoting journalists’ safety in Africa and end to impunity on crimes against them, through real-time monitoring, reporting, and follow-up actions by both the duty and right bearers. The platform provides the much-needed synergy by African media stakeholders, in holding the perpetrators of violence against journalists and media outlets accountable
Although its main actors are based in South Africa, it is for all Africans and some of the organizations that back it are found in Kenya among them is Article 19. The platform has established a Governance structure which also includes thematic areas led by different stakeholders represented at the steering committee .
To make a complaint go to https://safetyofjournalistsinafrica.africa/