The COVID-19 Litigation Fund supports strategic cases challenging digital rights violations committed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. DFF opened a first call for applications in June 2020. Selected grantees will be announced soon.
A second call for applications is now open. DFF will accept applications until 30 September 2020. Read about the application process below.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on societies across the globe. Not only is it causing a significant loss of life and illness, it also has severe repercussions for human rights. As more individuals are required to practice social distancing, work or attend school from home, access social welfare online, and receive information and news through the internet, the impact of government responses to COVID-19 on digital rights is particularly pressing.
The Digital Freedom Fund is issuing a call for applications for strategic cases challenging the gravest digital rights violations committed in the context of the COVID-19 situation that are either a direct result of responses to the pandemic or are demonstrably linked to and exacerbated by it. Litigation challenging existing digital rights issues which have only seen limited impact from the pandemic fall outside the scope of this call. Furthermore, DFF will prioritise applications that focus on addressing the negative impact felt by the most vulnerable groups in society, who generally will have limited access to justice and experience particular hardship due to the already existing ‘digital divide’.
What kind of grant can I apply for?
Strategic litigation support, for multiple instances
Example: if making a constitutional challenge to legislation amended in response to COVID-19, you can apply for a grant to support you through each instance of litigation needed, including possible appeals and referrals to a regional court.
What is strategic litigation?
The litigation is carried out as part of a wider strategic vision and will lead to an impact extending beyond the parties directly involved in the case. It will bring about legislative, policy or social change.
For more information about what a successful application looks like see here.
What type of cases will we support?
Cases that relate to digital rights violations that are a result of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic or exacerbated by it.
1. The tracking of citizen’s movements, communications and health data in relation to the pandemic
2. Online censorship, ostensibly to curb the spread of misinformation about the virus
3. The use of artificial intelligence to assist combatting the virus, but with little or no oversight or regulation, and/or that exacerbates existing inequalities
Cases should ideally fit under one of DFF’s three thematic focus areas, but cases with a different thematic scope are not excluded from the call.
How can I apply for a grant?
The COVID-19 Litigation Fund will open a second call for applications in late August and will be open until 30 September 2020. Please write to the DFF Programme Officer to request the application forms, email@example.com
Any applications submitted outside of the given timeframe will not be considered. Further calls for applications may be announced at a later date.