Digital rights on Majalat’s menu 

Newsletter, Shrinking Space for Civil Society

Read in:  French  Arabic 

The digital revolution is a high stake not only for European member states but also for their Southern Mediterranean neighbours. It contributes, among others, to create a competitive digital economy hub and to the post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

In 2016, the EU adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to cope with one of the major challenges arising from this digital transformation of our societies, namely data protection.  

However, in the MENA region, apart from some exceptions (e.g. Tunisia with its data protection law dating back to 2004 and its Data Protection Authority), the overall regulations in the field of digital rights are still weak because the nature of violations is not specifically enough defined, and because of the lack of strong safeguards and remedy against abuses. The EU has therefore identified disinformation, cyber threats, and accompanying the digital transition in the region among its priorities in its new Agenda for the Mediterranean published on 9 February 2021. A question arising from such an initiative is: how can the EU support digital rights in Southern Mediterranean countries to ensure equitable and fair space for civil society? 

In 2020, the Majalat project, led by EuroMed Rights to promote a regional structured dialogue between the EU and Southern Mediterranean civil society, organised five webinars in relation to the thematic pillar of “security”, notably to follow up on the 2019 recommendations on three sub-themes of interest to the EU: preventing and countering violent extremism, digital security and the gender dimension of security, and violence against women. 

The third edition of the Majalat Brussels Civil Society Forum, which will take place online on 7-9 July, will bring this issue of digital rights on the agenda in relation to the theme of “security”. This forum will also be the occasion to discuss – with civil society actors, experts and EU representatives – the main results developed by Majalat on its other five core themes, namely good governance and the rule of law, economic development and social dialogue, youth, social and climate justice, and migration.