Safeguarding Democracy and Human Rights in the Digital Age

Poor children who live and sleep on the open pavements in India’s capital New Delhi. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service (Representational Image)
Poor children who live and sleep on the open pavements in India’s capital New Delhi. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service (Representational Image)

Poor children who live and sleep on the open pavements in India’s capital New Delhi. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service (Representational Image)

Safeguarding Democracy and Human Rights in the Digital Age

The Digital Democracy Initiative works closely with civil society partners CIVICUS, Global Focus, Digital Defenders Partnership, and Access Now. 

As autocrats are increasingly misusing digital platforms to spread fake news, suppress dissenting voices, and deprive people of their fundamental rights, new programs are required to protect people’s rights in the technology-driven world.

In this direction, the Digital Democracy Initiative (DDI) is a program aimed at safeguarding inclusive democracy and human rights in the digital age. The DDI focuses on support to local civil society in the Global South, particularly in countries undergoing democratic regression and where civic space is under pressure.

The Digital Democracy Initiative was launched during the 2023 Summit for Democracy by the Danish Government and the EU Commission as a TeamEurope initiative, with the aim of supporting local organizations and activists in the Global South in their fight for democracy and human rights in the digital age. 

The program focuses on organizations representing women, youth, and marginalized groups as well as informal actors and social movements with limited access to funding and other resources.

The DDI program believes that the digital space has become a central arena in the efforts to expand and protect democratic rights. Digital technologies hold great potential for strengthening pluralist democracy, encouraging civic participation, and for giving a voice to marginalized groups. 

At the same time, digitalisation exposes human rights and democratic processes to new risks, including censorship, digital surveillance, mis- and disinformation, cyber-attacks, persecution, and harassment.

The DDI works closely with civil society partners CIVICUS, Global Focus, Digital Defenders Partnership, and Access Now. The DDI program is designed to facilitate scalability, both in terms of attracting additional donors and increasing the number of implementing partners during the implementation period 2023 to 2026. 

Through a Call for Proposals, the DDI will expand its support to Human Right Defenders and civil society activists in the Global South under three thematic areas:

Combatting technology facilitated gender-based violence

Leveraging digital technologies for climate activism

Strengthening youth engagement in the digital democratic space

The deadline for the submission of concept notes is 17 June 2024.