Hivos proudly announced the launch of the Digital Defenders Partnership at the Freedom Online conference on 6 and 7 September in Nairobi, Kenya. The Digital Defenders Partnership is an initiative under the Coalition for Freedom Online to provide quick support in response to a range of emerging threats to internet freedom. As an initial investment, several member countries have dedicated more than € 2,5 million to the Digital Defenders Partnership. Hivos will manage the Digital Defenders Partnership and implementation will start in January, 2013.
Goal of the fund
The aim of the Digital Defenders Partnership is to protect freedoms of expression, assembly, and association online and to keep the internet open and free from emerging threats. It will focus on countries where internet freedom is under threat by enabling emergency support for bloggers, cyber activists, journalists and human rights defenders who find themselves under attack while engaging in peaceful activities consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights and democracy. The fund will also enhance emergency response capacity among relevant stakeholders.
Activities supported by the fund
The Digital Defenders Partnership will have a broad and global scope and will award grants on a flexible basis. Activities from all over the world are eligible for funding as long as they fit the goal of the fund. The Partnership may support activities such as:
- Establishing new internet connections when existing connections have been cut off or are being restricted;
- Personal protection for bloggers and digital activists;
- Development of tools needed to respond adequately to emergencies;
- Development of decentralised, mobile internet applications that can link computers as an independent network (mesh networks);
- Supporting digital activists with secure hosting and DDOS mitigation;
- Emergency response capacity building.
The Digital Defenders Partnership is yet one more way that Hivos protects freedom of expression and contributes to the free and unhindered flow of information.