Media Rights Agenda, MRA, has joined digital rights advocates across the globe to commemorate the inaugural Global Encryption Day as it hosts twitter chat with the theme; ‘Protecting Journalists’ Safety Online through Encryption’.
The twitter chat, which was supported by Internet Society, focused on conversations about how journalists can keep themselves safe online with the use of encryption, and how the Nigerian government needs to adopt policies or laws that support the right of people to use strong encryption.
Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda explained that the Global Encryption Day is organized by the Global Encryption Coalition (GEC) to put strong encryption firmly in the spotlight around the world to help all digital rights advocates to champion a stronger Internet for all.
Highlighting the importance of Encryption Day, Ojo said, “As we all know, there are increasing threats to media freedom & journalists’ safety online, including in Nigeria, as a result of which journalists have to navigate a more treacherous online environment, which makes the issue significant for us in this country
“In Nigeria, our current reality is that journalists are frequently attacked online & offline because of their professional duties, including their critical reporting of government & their investigative reports on government & public office holders, among others.”
He thereafter noted that, “given the current realities, it is imperative for us all, as individuals or organizations, to get involved by making the switch to encrypted services or platforms, supporting & protecting strong encryption, or raising awareness about the importance of encryption”
Highlighting the importance of encryption for the safety of journalists, Obioma Okonkwo, Legal Officer at MRA shared that, “Encryption can mean the difference between life and death for journalists who by the nature of their work frequently face attacks and persecution, so one can argue that besides safeguarding media freedom, it also ensures their right to life.”
She noted that, “Given that online censorship and surveillance are growing threats to human rights, undermining encryption could threaten or undermine the ability of people to freely communicate and use the internet”
On his part, Ayode Longe, Programmes Officer, MRA, tasked the government on the need to help people understand and use encryption to protect themselves, stressing that, “part of the responsibilities of governments to their citizens should be to enable people to protect themselves online.”
Chioma Nwaodike, Head of MRA’s Legal Department, who noted that Nigeria has no specific law regulating encryption in the country, mentioned that there is a need for the adoption of policies or laws that support the right of people to use strong encryption