23 to 25 August 2022, Nairobi, Kenya
Media Defence is calling for applications from women lawyers based in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda to participate in a forthcoming litigation surgery on the right to freedom of expression and digital rights, with particular focus on online violence against journalists. This litigation surgery will be the first litigation training within our new project Empowering Women in Digital Rights Advocacy and is designed for women lawyers with demonstrated interest in building foundational knowledge around freedom of expression and litigating digital rights in East Africa.
Successful applicants will be provided with learning material and invited to participate in the in-person East Africa Women Litigation Surgery in Nairobi, Kenya from 23 to 25 August 2022. Participants will become active members of our Media Defence network, which will provide opportunities for engagement regionally and internationally in order to develop a sustainable network of women lawyers.
Litigation Surgery Objectives
Media Defence provides legal support to journalists, bloggers and independent media, as well as focused seminars to lawyers working with the right to freedom of expression. In that context, this litigation surgery will serve as an introduction to digital rights and relevant legal knowledge tailored to women lawyers in East Africa.
The objectives of this litigation surgery are:
- To develop knowledge about freedom of expression and its challenges online, with particular focus on online violence against journalists;
- To engage with key principles of international law as well as with regional and international mechanisms relevant to litigating freedom of expression online;
- To address legal challenges which are particularly relevant to women journalists and lawyers;
- To discuss emerging trends in digital rights and potential litigation strategies;
- To build a digital rights network and help facilitate its engagement with international legal mechanisms and global civil society initiatives; and
- To support and develop working relationships amongst women lawyers who take on cases relating to digital rights and freedom of expression online and to whom women journalists can more easily turn.
Media Defence will meet these objectives through three days of on-site training consisting of presentations and knowledge sharing which builds on training material.
Criteria for Eligibility
Participants will be selected on the following criteria:
- The litigation surgery is open to women lawyers who work and reside in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda;
- Applicants must have a demonstrated interest in and/or knowledge of freedom of expression, digital rights, internet freedom and/or related issues;
- Applicants must be proficient in English;
- The women lawyers 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 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;
- With their application, applicants are requested to submit a case study of a case that they are litigating or intend to litigate and that could be discussed during the litigation surgery. However, it will be sufficient 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. Such participants must demonstrate their ability and willingness to pursue the case after the surgery;
The following non-exhaustive list of themes are a guide for the type of cases that could be submitted with the application:
- Cybercrime laws
- Access to the internet
- Data privacy
- Data protection
- Hate speech
- National Security
- Potential for future collaboration with Media Defence; and,
- Commitment to the continued engagement with the network of digital rights lawyers in the region.
A maximum of 12 participants will be selected. Media Defence is committed to equality and diversity and will therefore consider gender, age and country of origin in the selection of participants. Due to gender disparity in previous litigation surgeries, this event is exclusively for women lawyers.