A Successful Regional Dialogue on Internet Access.
The Southern Africa Non-Government Organizations Network (SANGONeT), in partnership with the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA), successfully hosted a Southern Africa Regional Dialogue on Internet Access in a form of a two days conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 5th and 6th November 2019. This was an interesting dialogue among stakeholders from over 12 SADC member countries and representatives from East Africa and West Africa. This publication presents speeches, presentations and photographic evidence of the conference.
The conference was hosted in Johannesburg.
The Goal of the regional dialogue was to influence democratic internet governance in the region to enable citizens’ free speech and access to information essential for their participation in the democratic governance of the region. And the following were conference objectives;
To conduct a regional meeting of stakeholders to discuss online information controls and seek collective responsibility to make the internet accessible and free from State controls,
To formulate strategies for advocacy on democratic internet governance in the region post the meeting.
Internet shutdowns are symptomatic of a broader crackdown on communication and online rights and freedoms. The targeting of online and offline media outlets and journalists is a growing problem which, combined with internet disruption, has a chilling effect on free expression in the region. Manipulation of Internet infrastructure has often been used to surveil conversations, prevent journalists from reporting securely, or block users in a particular country or region from learning about political events, to name a few use cases.
In consideration of regional threats to online freedoms, which have manifested to internet shutdowns in recent past, SANGONeT proposed a proactive response to this serious assault on citizens’ online freedoms through this Regional Dialogue on Internet Access. The two days’ dialogue received researched papers, number of panelists presentations, and engaged in dialogue regarding challenges posed by the internet shutdowns in the region and how it affected the societies. Issues hindering access to the internet for remote and poor communities were discussed, and the conference had to come up with possible intervention strategies and advocacy processes against these shutdowns. The high cost of data and unavailability of internet (largely among poor communities) were discussed. The conference was concluded by commissions tasked with outlining key advocacy issues which could be pursued going forward.
The Regional Dialogue on Internet Access was based on the principles of Digital Inclusion by promoting and advocating for the Rights of the Southern Africa citizens to Access and Inclusion on the Internet. Delegates were presented with four Thematic Papers .
SUMMARY OF SOME OF THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT SENT DELEGATES:
The Dialogue was graced by delegates from prominent African and Global ICT and Internet Governance organizations, some of which are the following:
- The Worldwide Web Foundation
- The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)
- Friendly Drummers
- MISA Malawi
- Africa Freedom of Information Centre “AFIC”
- The Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
- Namibian NGO Forum (NANGOF)
- ADPP Mozambique
- The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations (CANGO)
- The National Council of NGOs (NaCoNGO)
- The National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO)
- The South African Women in ICT Forum
- Africa Freedom of Information Centre “AFIC”
- The SADC Council of NGOS (SADC-CNGO)
- The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
- The Communications Regulators' Association of Southern Africa CRASA's
- The FICOFAWE Women Foundation's
- The Council for NGOs in Malawi (CONGOMA)
- The African Union Youth Club
- The Clicking Generation-ICT
- Success Capital Organisation
- Online Clinic Yathu (OCLIYA)
- The Open Society Justice Initiative
- Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)
- Little Eden’s Justice & Peace Centre
- Angolan Association of Internet Service Providers
- Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN)
- The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)
- The Foundation for Human Rights
- Wireless Access Providers Association WAPA
- A World at School
- fesmedia Africa
- Media Monitoring Africa (MMA)
- Genesis Community IT initiative (G-CITI)
- Halley Movement
- The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI)
Below are some useful links:
- Conference images to download
- Conference video
- More Content Regarding Regional Dialogue on Internet Access :