BudgIT, Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria) and Paradigm Initiative (PIN) will hold the fourth edition of the bi-annual pan-African New Media, Citizens, and Governance Conference (NMCG).
The virtual conference is billed to hold October 20 and 21, 2020, the organizers said in a statement recently.
Africa’s civic space is evolving with the application of new technologies and methods to strengthen advocacy and foster active citizenship. The emergence of new media has also impacted on new organisations that are reaching out to citizens to demand accountability from the government with results and these three organizations have effectively used new media to drive social impact, creating societal change across different contexts.
According to the statement, “With the COVID-19 pandemic, leveraging technology has become the norm and it’s appropriate that a conference focused on new media will be virtual this year. The two-day virtual conference will hold with the theme: ‘New Media and Voice: Hashtags, Action and People’.
The conference will have three breakout sessions focused on freedom of speech, the digital economy, virtual public hearings, and others.
According to BudgIT’s Director, Oluseun Onigbinde, “Our reality is changing, and the pandemic has led to the emergence of a new culture of engagement in all spheres of life including civic and political matters. There are other salient issues that are spin-offs from the pandemic.
One of these includes the recent gag on freedom of speech and expression by governments across the world, the rising cases of sexual and gender-based violence across Africa have also become a ‘shadow’ pandemic.”
The conference will provide a platform for analysts, policymakers, and citizens to discuss these issues from various perspectives with the purpose of proffering solutions and strategizing pathways to mitigate some of the challenges posed by the new normal, Onigbinde added.
Speaking on the development, the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative (PIN), Gbenga Sesan, said: “Although the pandemic has forced a new way of life for everyone, we must not lose sight of critical issues that affect how we engage in the digital age. Clampdowns and violations of citizen’s digital rights heightened during the lockdowns. The only way to preserve the rights and ability of citizens to use digital platforms for either activism or economic survival is to continue to assert the importance of these rights as a precondition to the desired gains of a digital economy for most Africa nations.”