West Africa Digital Rights and Freedom of Expression Litigation Surgery 2019
  • July 1 - 5, 2019
  • Accra

Call for Applications: West Africa Digital Rights and Freedom of Expression Litigation Surgery 2019 in Ghana.

The Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) is a charity, based in the United Kingdom, which provides legal help to journalists, bloggers, and independent media across the world. We support journalists’ legal defense, undertake strategic litigation, fund media defense centers, and strengthen capacity in the legal community through practical, specialized training and network-building.

MLDI is calling for applications from English-speaking lawyers based in countries that are members of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the Republic of Cameroon to participate in a practical litigation workshop on the right to freedom of expression, digital rights, and the internet.

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Successful applicants will be funded to attend the litigation surgery in early July in Accra, Ghana. After completing the training, attendees will also become active members of a digital rights legal network through which there will be an opportunity for engagement regionally and internationally.

All lawyers wishing to apply are required to submit a current or potential case involving freedom of expression, digital rights, and the internet, for discussion in the legal workshop. If applicants do not have a case, they may submit a relevant law, practice or policy relating to digital rights or freedom of expression that they would like to challenge in court. 

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 source protection.

The objectives of this specialized litigation surgery training are:

  • To equip participants with the practical 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 amongst lawyers undertaking such cases.

Location:

Ghana

Benefits

MLDI will cover:

  • airfare, accommodation, travel expenses
  • a modest per diem.

 

Eligibilities

  • 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 West Africa through litigation. Exceptionally strong applications 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 will be considered as well. A maximum of 12 participants will be selected;
  • Applicants must be proficient in English;
  • They 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;
  • With their application, applicants are requested to submit a case study of a case that they are either currently litigating or that they intend to litigate, which may be discussed during the litigation surgery. As set out above, it will suffice for participants who do not have a case that is pending 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 its selection of participants.

Eligible Regions: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, and the Republic of Cameroon

Application Process

  • Please complete the attached application form in the website and submit it before the deadline of midnight on Sunday 28 April 2019.  
  • Shortlisted applicants will be notified soon after the closing date and should be available for a Skype or telephone interview on 8, 9 or 10 May 2019.  

Application Deadline: April 28, 2019 (3 Days Remaining)

Apply nowOfficial link
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