Digital Rights Agenda

As an international digital media organisation working for social
change – we understand digital media, how young people use it and
how imperative it is to promote, protect and defend the rights of
young people in the digital space.

Digital Rights of Young People

  • Human rights apply equally online and offline, therefore whatever threats young people face to their rights, extend to online spaces and whatever limitations there are to their access and right to reliable information, exist online as well.
  • Digital rights are defined as human rights in the internet era that allow people to access, use, create and publish digital media, as well as access and use technological devices and communications networks.
  • Rights of young people must be respected, protected and fulfilled in the digital space. Young people should have access to age-appropriate and empowering digital content, and information from a wide diversity of trusted sources.

Pillars of change

At RNW Media, we focus on two pillars of change to guide, influence and inform our work in digital rights:

  1. Digital inclusion: universal, equal access and meaningful connectivity
  2. Freedom of opinion and expression (and access to information) in the digital space

We work alongside changemakers and young people to tackle the challenges and barriers they face in the online space.  These two pillars are adaptable to work across the SDGs, while remaining consistent to our commitment to the rights of young people to be able to universally and equally access the internet, meaningfully connect in digital spaces and be able to express themselves freely, openly communicate their opinions and access pluralistic, facts-based information.

Digital inclusion: universal, equal access and meaningful connectivity

The Covid pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing digital gender and geographic divides, and in many cases, technologies contribute to reinforcing existing discrimination and exclusion. In order to maximise the impact of the digital transformation, it is important to ensure no one is left behind, especially women and girls. The significant global gender gap in the access, use and ownership of digital technologies limits the equitable realisation of their benefits.

Women around the world face unique barriers to fully benefiting from the internet. These range from digital skills and education gaps to affordability barriers worsened by income inequality, to online harassment and infringements on digital rights . Through our partnerships with changemakers we increase digital inclusion for young people to ensure that technology enriches their lives and that of their communities by:

Digital inclusion focus:What we do (2022):What we will do (end of 2023):
Universal, equal accessDefend and promote universal and equal access in the digital civic space.

Seek to close and mitigate digital divide(s) through applying digital inclusive approaches such as designing inclusive tech, inclusive content and inclusive, gender transformative teams.

Be part of global alliances > provide evidence for advocacy to internationally lobby and advocate for global social change e.g. A4AI, APC, ITU

With partners, work to strengthen online / offline touchpoints using variety of media channels through hybrid programming and partner selection.

Meaningful connectivityWith our RNTC Media Training Centre, we work on improving digital skills through capacity strengthening (CS) and training of local CSOs working or aspiring to work, in the digital space including Digital Safety & Security, content creation, moderation and producing media to counter disinformation.Play an active role in developing the digital skills of women by working with partners to offer in-country digital traineeships.

Improve the media literacy of young people and empower them to identify and defend themselves from disinformation through increased CS opportunities for change-makers.

Freedom of opinion and expression (and access to information) in the digital space

Freedom of expression, an important fundamental right in itself, is also critical for defending and upholding other freedoms and rights. We exercise this right in our day-to-day lives, through the exchange of ideas, opinions and information, simultaneously in the offline and online space. ‘The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice’.[1] The internet, with the opportunities it offers people to express themselves, is an enabler of the exercise of this right.

Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur reaffirms the mutually reinforcing nature of gender equality and the right to freedom of opinion and expression and underlines the vital importance of their inclusive realisation for the achievement of peace, democracy and sustainable development. ‘There can be no trade-off between women’s right to be free from violence and the right to freedom of opinion and expression.’[2] To move forward there is the imperative need to create an enabling environment and safe digital spaces for women’s equal enjoyment of freedom of opinion and expression[3].

To defend and promote the right to freedom of opinion and expression and access to information in the digital civic space, at RNW Media we:

Focus:What we do (2022):What we will do (end of 2023):
Freedom of opinion and expression (and access to information)With partners, we co-create safe spaces online for young people to communicate & express themselves.

Smart targeting & moderation: ensures inclusivity and accessibility for all young people, esp. women > mitigate online hate speech and harassment.

Capacity strengthen CSOs on how data can provide insights into young people’s needs, interests and behaviour > improve content and engagement on digital platforms.

Provide CS to CSOs and young people on how to recognise, monitor and combat dis-, mis-information & online hate speech & how to create counter-polarising narratives.

Meaningful connectivityCS on digital content creation to CSOs > pluralistic and diverse.

CS on disinformation and counter narratives > CSOs and media professionals.

CS on election reporting & investigative journalism > media professionals

Provide CS to increasing # CSOs & media professionals > verify impact through operational research.

Collect evidence of censorship and violations of the right to freedom of opinion and access to information from partners.

Hold platforms accountable in content governance > work with advocacy organisations to influence change at a large scale by sharing evidence of violations.

Present evidence at conferences to build movement of change and increase platform accountability.

Connect with us

RNW Media has an ambitious vision and is always looking for ways to partner with like-minded organisations. We already have a great network of partners and donors. Be sure to contact us if you want to be a part of it.