IGF 2017 WS #246 Freedom of Expression on the Internet and its contribution to human development in MENA

Proposer's Name: Mr. Khalid Ibrahim
Proposer's Organization: Gulf Centre for Human Rights
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Roula Mikhael 
Co-Proposer's Organization: Maharat Foundation
Mr, Khalid Ibrahim, Civil Socierty, Gulf Centre for Human Rights
Ms. Roula Mikhael, Civil Society, Maharat Foundation


Session Format: Panel - 60 Min

Content of the Session:
The workshop will focus on the specific challenges and solutions in relation to a freedom of expression approach to human development in MENA region. Some well-known human rights and online activists from various countries in the region will participate in the open talks and discussion.


A. To highlight the ongoing attacks by governments in the region on online activism and online activists.

B. To talk about the conceptual and legal links between human development in MENA and human rights, in general, freedom of expression in particular.

B. Then to show some solid examples in which the lack of freedom of expression led a huge reduction in human development.

Possible conclusion:

To conclude through a live discussion with participants that human rights standards contained in, and principles derived from, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments should guide all human development programmes in MENA.


5 Minutes will be given for each of the 4 speakers followed by a 20 minutes of an open discussion between the speakers and all the attendees. The last 20 minutes will be focused on conclusions and recommendations. 

Relevance of the Session:
No prosperous future for the MENA citizens without a recognition of their digital rights and that's what the workshop is trying to mainly conclude. This workshop is very important for the online activism in MENA region as its targeted by most of the regional governments so our voices not only need to be herd but also the protection of our digital rights need to be enhanced as well.

Tag 1: Digital Rights
Tag 2: Human Rights
Tag 3: Freedom of Expression Online

The speakers will get enough time to express themselves and then to interact with the audience through a healthy dialogue.

We have male and female speakers who represent civil society and private sector. Some of the speakers have participated in previous IGV meetings and some are new.

Onsite Moderator: Layal Bahnam 
Online Moderator: Hussein Elsherif 
Rapporteur: Elsa Saade

Online Participation:
We intend to give equal opportunity to online participation by having a separate queue and mic.

Discussion facilitation:
The idea is to have many rounds of Qs and As in order to encourage people to participate and having the best outcome.

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: No
Link to Report: