LAGOS, Nigeria, October 2021/ — Paradigm Initiative (PIN), a pan-African social enterprise working to advance digital rights and inclusion in Africa, will on Wednesday, October 20, release its second and latest short film entitled ‘FOCUS’ to the public on the YouTube platform where it can be accessed for free.
The release was preceded by a premiere on Thursday, October 14, which was attended by a rich and influential cast of prominent social and digital rights activists, journalists, policymakers, members of the diplomatic corps, social media influencers, and others.
FOCUS is directed by acclaimed filmmaker, Tolulope Ajayi, and produced by Up In The Sky, a creative and production agency based in Lagos. The short film creatively explores in a cinematic form PIN’s 2020 annual digital rights and inclusion report dubbed Londa (https://bit.ly/3vsBFqZ), which depicts the state of digital rights and inclusion in 20 African countries.
The movie FOCUS is PIN’s second short film after the widely-regarded first short film, ‘Training Day’ (https://bit.ly/3vvyD5l), and marks a continuation of the organization’s innovative trend to harness the power of story-telling in raising awareness on its research findings and spurring citizen-led actions on the protection of digital rights and government accountability.
The newly-released short film FOCUS accentuates the importance of citizen vigilance in confronting and halting the disturbing wave of restrictive policies enacted across several countries in Africa to constrict social spaces online, muffle speech, and subvert online mobilization and democratic movements.
According to Paradigm Initiative’s Chief Operating Officer, Nnenna Paul Ugochukwu stressing the importance of the Londa report from which the movie focus is drawn, said “Londa is an effective tool for building advocacy because it contains up-to-date information about the digital landscape in Africa. With Londa, we are able to foster relevant, contextual and multi-stakeholder conversations around issues such as access, inclusion, gender gap, freedom of expression, etc. Everyone can learn about what’s going on in their country or region and empower themselves to advocate for digital rights and inclusion in their communities”
About the movie Focus, she equally highlighted “Storytelling is a powerful tool for advocacy and activism; everyone loves a good story so what better way to raise awareness than through an entertaining, engaging story that addresses key issues we are facing and gets us talking. We would love to hear from everyone who watches the film so please leave a comment on our YouTube channel or send us an email at email@example.com”
Its release on October 20, a date when last year the Nigerian government violently quelled the nationwide ‘ENDSARS’ protest against police brutality that received global attention with an attack on protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, has refocused attention on the state of online freedoms in Nigeria and the power of citizens to mobilize freely.
Twitter, the service that played a central role in how young Nigerians were able to mobilize and coordinate actions for the protest, remains inaccessible in Nigeria following a suspension enforced by the government since June.
Internet blockades and arbitrary bans, a continent-wide problem in Africa, formed part of the central theme of the short film as PIN presented options to citizens facing such repression on how to maintain access using tailored tools it developed to boycott the blockades.
FOCUS also alerts citizens to means to identify and take collective actions against the subtle but increasingly desperate and broad-ranging plots by the government to slip through policies and other restrictive measures aimed at limiting online freedoms and censoring speech.
With the support of The Kingdom of Netherlands, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the United States Department of State, FOCUS continues Paradigm Initiative’s efforts to mainstream topical issues using the medium of storytelling as a vehicle of social transformation.
The short film is available for free viewing on PIN’s YouTube channel ‘@ParadigmHQ’, with both English and French versions to cater to audiences from the anglophone and francophone parts of Africa.
For more information on Focus click HERE (https://bit.ly/3aRIXuU)
To read the Londa report click HERE (https://bit.ly/2XzqrVe)
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Paradigm Initiative.