Stories about Middle East & North Africa

Algerians’ speech freedoms strained by media laws passed under COVID-19 pretext

As Hirak protests continue to protest unmet public demands, Algerian government uses the pandemic to restrain independent media platforms and people's digital rights through suppressive laws.

Israeli phone hacking firm stops sales to Belarus and Russia

Cellebrite, an Israeli software company known for making tools used to extract data from smartphones, has announced it will halt sales to Russian and Belarus state bodies and law enforcement.

Turkey reins in social media—one platform at a time

The new social media law sets up a series of restrictions that will have a lasting impact on digital rights and freedom of expression in Turkey.

Google’s plans for Saudi-based Cloud is ‘dangerous,’ says digital rights advocacy group

"With data stored in Saudi Arabia, Google and Snap will find themselves with little ability to resist government demands for users’ personal information."

Tunisia’s fight against COVID-19 unmasks shaky ground for digital rights

In Tunisia, local authorities have, throughout the pandemic, resorted to historical tricks by using vague, existing laws to curb freedom of expression and limit citizens’ rights to information.  

COVID-19 and shrinking freedom limits in Jordan

In Jordan, recent detentions of journalists and activists in 2020 bear the hallmarks of a police state.

Seven African governments employ surveillance spyware, says new study

Equatorial Guinea, Botswana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have employed surveillance technology from Circles, a firm affiliated with Israel's NSO Group, according to the report by Citizen Lab.

Pressure mounts on Egypt to release prominent human rights defenders

Three senior members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), one of Egypt’s most prominent human rights groups, were arrested earlier this month on charges of terrorism.

Shutdowns, throttling and stifling dissent online: Africa’s new normal, Part II

Weaponizing digital blackouts or social media clamp down by Algeria, Ethiopia, Guinea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania is an ominous sign of a deeply problematic system of governance. 

Shutdowns, throttling and stifling dissent online: Africa’s new normal, Part I

African governments are using school examinations and politically charged moments as an excuse to effect digital blackouts or clamp down on social media. 

Rights groups in Tunisia mobilize against police protection bill

Article 7 of the bill grants security forces immunity from prosecution for the use of excessive and lethal force against citizens in situations “they deem dangerous”

A new ‘cyber defence’ system in Oman raises human rights concerns

The Omani Sultanate passed a new decree giving security authorities further control over the internet.

Lebanon protests: Authorities prey on digital spaces to silence criticism

While social media and WhatsApp have been extensively leveraged by demonstrators to organize, document, and sprawl the protest, Lebanese authorities have resorted to identifying and persecuting dissidents.

Surveillance in Lebanon: A crisis of privacy

Intrusions on citizens’ privacy in Lebanon are pervasive and often conducted without proper judicial oversight.

Moderate globally, impact locally: A series on content moderation in the Global South

''Even as the platforms have grown and spread around the world, the center of gravity of these debates continues to revolve around D.C. and San Francisco.''

Call for writers: Global Voices seeks pitches for digital rights stories

We are currently looking for authors to write about the following countries: Lebanon, Liberia, Rwanda, Namibia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Senegal, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Silicon Valley tech giants race to build Africa's internet infrastructure. Should Africa worry?

Google and Facebook are building undersea internet cables for Africans with access to high-speed internet — but 33 nations in Africa still don't have comprehensive data privacy laws.

As COVID-19 accelerates digital transformation, is the internet safe for women in the Middle East?

Women activists and journalists experience are particularly targeted online in attempts to intimidate, sow disinformation and discredit their work. 

From counterterrorism to counter-COVID-19, governments use crises to impose continuous states of emergency in the Middle East

Fighting terrorism used to be the umbrella under which states of emergency were justified in the Middle East. Now, COVID 19 serves as a new justification for sweeping powers. 

In Tunisia, women stand on the frontlines of targeted hate speech online

In Tunisia, an uprising toppled leadership and lead to revolution in 2011. Since then, digital space has witnessed heated debates about politics and society — including attacks against women activists and...

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