Fighting the good fight: Tresorit’s cloud solution on a high-risk mission

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda securely stores and transfers sensitive information with Tresorit

A matter of civil rights: Ugandan journalists’ fight for a free and fair society

In September 2018, a shocking video was shared countless times by Ugandans across social media. It showed Reuters photographer James Akena being assaulted by armed soldiers as he raised his hands in surrender. The only thing he was armed with was his camera. In the eyes of Ugandan government officials, however, that’s heavy weaponry. The very same day, the police arrested at least five other journalists at Entebbe International Airport covering the return of opposition MP Robert Kyagulanyi from the U.S., detained them for hours, confiscated their equipment and deleted whatever they found on them. The assault was just the latest incident of Ugandan security and government officials threatening and intimidating members of the press, curtailing citizens’ access to critical information and the space for media freedom in the country.

In this age-old fight for fundamental freedoms, the contribution of bodies like the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) in Uganda is of utmost importance. Established in 2005, the network gained formal registration as an independent non-profit and non-partisan media organization in 2006. HRNJ-Uganda brings together over 200 human rights journalists and freelance investigative reporters from all media backgrounds to work towards the promotion and protection of civil rights through advocacy campaigns, documenting and researching human rights violations, as well as offering free legal counselling and support, and professional training to its members. The organization has quite a few success stories under their belt of combating challenges affecting journalistic freedom proactively and effectively, having represented falsely accused journalists at court, rescued others held incommunicado and challenged government policies that threaten and undermine freedom of the press, information and expression, among others. Given the nature of the organisation's work, they have to make sure their documents are protected and kept away from prying eyes.

Cloud for a cause: using end-to-end encryption to protect data and civil rights

“In our organization, we use the cloud to back up extremely sensitive data and share files among staff. But it often happens that internet service providers and government agencies spy on human rights defenders because they want to know what we’re working on and what we share internally and externally,” Emmanuel Magambo, HRNJ-Uganda’s IT and Media officer points out. When you’re in the business of exposing human rights violations and abuses against journalists, media workers and media houses, not to mention bringing offenders to justice, privacy is not just a technical issue anymore. It makes or breaks the efforts of hundreds of media rights activists dedicated to the protection of civil liberties and the promotion of fundamental human rights. “

The end-to-end encryption feature of Tresorit has helped us ensure that no one has a glimpse into our projects and interferes with our work. We can securely store and transfer information without having to worry about unwanted surveillance.

Frank Bösenberg
Emmanuel Magambo IT and Media officer, HRNJ-Uganda

On the move: helping activists stay safe and stay on track

Working with hundreds of members across four associations in Rwenzori, Sobuja, Teso-Karamoja and Tompa, accessibility and usability had also been among Emmanuel’s top concerns. With Tresorit’s secure file storage and sharing solution that enables journalists to access and edit files wherever they are while keeping confidential information safe, he has one less thing to worry about. “Tresorit’s feature for automatically synchronizing user data means that we have updated files in the cloud at all times. We don’t lose important information and our colleagues can stay connected, even when they’re on leave or in the field,” Emmanuel explains. “End-to-end encryption is essential for HRNJ-Uganda because it makes it impossible for anyone to access the data we’re sending or downloading. Our privacy, digital identity and data is secure and protected. On top of that, we’ve also had a truly amazing user experience with Tresorit, thanks to its ease of use and hassle-free service,” he adds.

Interested in learning more about how Tresorit helps nonprofits? Check out the following material:

Eurogrant

Company

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights.

Industry

Non-profit

Region

Uganda

Size

201-500

THE CHALLENGE

  • Civil rights organization with sensitive information about members as well as human rights violation victims and offenders

  • Risk of communications surveillance by government agencies

  • Staff working across the country and sharing files on the go

TRESORIT'S SOLUTION

  • End-to-end encrypted collaboration platform for maximum security

  • Journalists can securely access and work on files in teams

  • Zero-knowledge standards for fending off cybersecurity vulnerability

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