The first half of 2020 has been a challenging time as 7amleh has been working to adapt to the changes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Two weeks before the Palestine Digital Activism Forum was scheduled to take place, the coronavirus pandemic hit and all of our plans had to be redesigned. That being said, the PDAF online was a great success, with content engaging 1 million people, and engaging speakers with local and international experts, activists, academics and journalists.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have continued our research, advocacy, campaigning and training programmes. We have provided online training to hundreds of people including over 300 people who participated in gender sensitive digital security training.
7amleh has also continued to publish new research and advocacy publications including a “Know Your Digital Rights” handbook for Palestinians, a series of position papers about the PA’s emergency law, Israel’s use of social media to shrink the space for freedom of expression on Palestine and to smear Palestinian human rights organizations, research about Palestinian’s access to e-commerce platforms, YouTube’s discriminatory policies and 7amleh’s annual digital rights situation analysis, #Hashtag Palestine (2019), and the Index of Racism and Incitement Online (2019).
7amleh was also awarded the 2020 Freedom of Expression Award by the Index on Censorship during the first half of the year for its outstanding work educating the Palestinian public and the world about Palestinian digital rights issues.
We thank all of our supporters and partners for their ongoing work to protect Palestinian digital rights.Please consider donating to 7amleh to help make the internet a safe, free and fair place for all.
The fourth edition of the annual Palestine Digital Activism Forum, for the first time, is entirely digitized due to the coronavirus and movement restrictions with more than 1.000.000 views with 6 panel-discussions and 3 webinars. In addition, a set of eight webinars in English and Arabic was held on issues surrounding digital rights during the coronavirus, including the impact on women’s digital safety, Youtube policies, and how to protect your privacy and digital rights when working from home.
7amleh's annual publication "Hashtag Palestine 2019" gives an overview of digital rights violations by state as well as corporate actors throughout the year 2019, illustrating an increase in violations compared to the previous year.
Access Denied analyses how denial of Palestinians to e-commerce platforms, such as PayPal, hinders Palestinian economic development and infringes on Palestinians right to access the digital economy. The research also highlights how Palestinians are overcoming these challenges.
The research “Are YouTube’s Policies Biased Against Palestinians?” highlights how YouTube's content removal practices are violating Palestinian digital rights. Through qualitative research methods, it explores how YouTube’s policies and practices cause violations of Palestinian digital rights and how this impacts Palestinians using this platform - the second most used social media platform in Palestine.
7amleh published a report in Arabic illustrating the discrepancies of coronavirus information and awareness-campaigns by the Israeli Ministry of Health in Hebrew and Arabic, which shows discrimination against Arabic speakers.
7amleh published a series of position papers about how states and companies are violating Palestinian digital rights and recommendations how we can work to protect them. Papers include:
“Digital Rights in Palestine Between Emergency and Pandemic”, highlighting how the Palestinian Authority’s unlawful emergency corona legislation has explicitly targeted digital rights and privacy.
"Online Smear Campaigns and Deplatforming: The Silencing and Delegitimization of Palestinian Human Rights Defenders, Activists and Organizations", focusing on the online strategies and tactics Israel is using to shrink the space for Palestinian human rights defenders, activists and organizations to advocate for Palestinian rights.
“Systematic Efforts to Silence Palestinian Content on Social Media”, looking more deeply into Israel's strategic use of social media platforms, particularly Facebook, to limit Palestinian political content and support for Palestinian rights.
“Facial Recognition and Palestinian Digital Rights”, focusing on Israel's use of facial recognition technology as a part of an unlawful mass surveillance of Palestinians.
The Palestine Digital Rights Coalition continued to meet on a monthly basis and to coordinate efforts to submit reports and publish statements related to current issues. This included coordinating a response to Facebook’s selection of the former general director of the Ministry of Justice to the Facebook Oversight Board.
7amleh also hosted two online dialogue sessions between Facebook representatives and Palestinian civil society organisations, journalists and news agencies. These dialogue sessions discussed Facebook’s content moderation policies and how these impact Palestinian digital rights.
7amleh provided the first Digital Rights Defenders training for Palestinian youth. The two day workshop further enhanced the skills of 20 Palestinian youth to advocate for their digital rights and further build their advocacy skills.
7amleh published a new handbook “Know Your Digital Rights: Towards a Safe, Fair and Free Palestinian Digital Space” which illustrates how Palestinians’ digital rights are an extension of human rights into the online sphere.
7amleh staff and board members participated in six online discussions on digital rights during the coronavirus lockdown. Alison Carmel, 7amleh’s International Relations Coordinator talked about how technology is used to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and threatens privacy in the webinar “Growing Privacy Concerns during COVID-19”. 7amleh’s Executive Director discussed how fake news are spreading rapidly in light of the coronavirus in the online discussion “Freedom of Expression in the Shadow of the Corona Pandemic”, surveillance of Palestinians under the guise of a coronavirus response in the evening talk “States of Surveillance: Understanding “security” & containment in Palestine/Israel amidst a global state of emergency”, and Israeli digital rights violations in the webinar “Violation of the digital rights of Palestinians and how to tackle these”. Mona Shtayya, 7amleh Board Member participated in the digital discussion “Internet Control in the Arab Region” and explained the Palestinian Electronic Crimes Law.
7amleh produced two short videos in Arabic on fake news during the coronavirus. ”How to Verify News in the Times of Corona” explains how to fact check and verify news, in particular during the times of the coronavirus, and ”Digital Safety Tips in the Light of the Coronavirus” details digital security measures that are increasingly important during the times of the coronavirus as fake-news are on the rise.
7amleh also produced two videos in Arabic on gender-based violence online (GBVO). Whereas ”While We Have People Around us with Awareness and Respect, There’s still Harassers on the Net” is part of an awareness-campaign on GBVO stating that “harassment is harassment” whether off- or online, while ”You Are Not Alone” explores how to deal with the phenomenon of GBVO, including linking to relevant organizations.
7amleh participated in the annual #SocialMediaDay on June 30th 2020. This year, 7amleh highlighted how the policies and practices of social media companies continue to violate Palestinian digital rights -- an extension of human rights in the online sphere. 7amleh’s posts throughout social media platforms reached more than 7000 people.
7amleh trained nearly 250 Palestinian youth in digital security from January to June 2020 despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus and resulting movement restrictions and emergency regulations. One of the workshops took place online.
7amleh held a workshop on digital security and threat-modeling for journalists in June 2020. Five journalists were trained on digital security specifically for journalists.
7amleh held a workshop on digital security for organisations in June 2020. The workshop covered issues surrounding how to protect yourself individually and your organisation online, and discuss techniques to protect your safety and privacy.
7amleh held a workshop about digital marketing for Palestinian artists in June 2020.
7amleh held three Training of Trainers (ToT) in the first half of 2020 reaching a total of 13 of 7amleh’s trainers and adding 27 new trainers to 7amleh’s trainer pool.