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    Policy Brief: Online Community Policing

    by Grace Atuhaire 11/09/2019 05:15 PM GMT

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           Policy Brief: Online Community Policing


          Today, terrorists actors’ usage of the internet to create their ideological awareness, connect and radicalise young people,  lead to violent extremism and continued terror attacks has led to the international community, and member state to create recreational initiatives to counter counter-radicalisation and counter-extremism measures and initiatives.  More so, according to Freedom House, Governments around the world are tightening control over citizens data and using crimes of fake news to suppress decent eroding trust in the internet as well as the foundations of democracy.

          EAPPCO member states, governments have taken on counter-terrorism initiatives; leading to a rise in different sentiments from different activists as a possible infringement of freedom of expression and rights to the internet. 

          For Example; the Ugandan contested social media tax raises questions on its impact on freedom of speech and expression which is a fundamental human right.   Additionally, the Kenyan Information and Communication (Amendment) Bill 2019 raised issues on its objective especially on its clause that requires group creators and administrators to report to the communication authority on their intentions of creating groups.  There is fear that the Bill is more politically oriented as opposed to the provision of online security and reducing terrorist activities online. 

          This policy brief seeks to address member states, with the example of EAPCCO member states on how to harness the opportunity of ownership through adopting an online community policing  model. EAPCO member states include Uganda, Kenya , Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Comoros and Seychelles. 

          Such an online community policing model takes on the principles of the overall community policing and centres on peer to peer and collective ownership towards addressing the spread of terrorist content online. Hereby, the policy brief explores the untapped opportunities by governments in collaborating with existing organisations, and media initiatives that monitor and counter the popular narratives of “ fake news” as well as Hackathon communities. 

          The approach of online community policing if implemented in EAPCCO member states can be a model of inspiration to any other UN member state. It will act as a driver for policy change and formulation as far as the war on terrorism is concerned especially at this time when digitalization is inevitable.

          Co-authors to your solution

          Catheline Bosibori Nyabwengi and Grace Atuhaire

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