IGF 2020 WS #356 Freedom of expression and the African Domain Name Industry


Organizer 1: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 2: Intergovernmental Organization, African Group
Organizer 3: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 4: Civil Society, African Group

Speaker 1: Elizabeth Orembo, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Keith Andere, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Michael Ilishebo, Government, African Group


Round Table - Circle - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

Policy to guide the way domain addressing human rights issues are protected. Politics or government should not be allowed to influence the Internet by influencing registrars on which domain to shutdown.

This session will bring together stakeholders from the Domain Industry to discuss the problems and solutions of these problems. It aims to take out the lessons learned from the workshop to advocate for and build policies that protect freedom of speech at the domain name level.


GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals


Indeed the internet is an enabler of digital rights such as right to expression and the freedom to access information. The Africa Domain Name Industry provides a critical role in this as it continues to grow both in use and in alternatives. African TLDs such as dotAfrica and ccTLDs fall within the jurisdiction of African countries. These domains promote the use of local content, revenue creation, and build African online Internet identities that are unique for the continent. On the other hand, some of these domains have also faced harsh political and governance regimes where the existing legal mechanisms have been ignored in domain takedowns. This threatens online freedoms of speech and denies the continent the mentioned opportunities

Expected Outcomes

Advocacy of protection of domains belonging to human rights advocates. Policy suggestions on how to amplify the growth of online freedom of expression.

We hope to engage participants in police discussion that pertains to the DNS and freedom of expression. The various Internet policies with regional registrar and registries will be undertaken. Liz Orembo [email protected] will coordinate the session

Relevance to Internet Governance: The topic is relevant to Internet Governance because it involves freedom of expression and domain name system operation. Internet users need to have trust in their safety on the internet. And the DNS should ensure that their voices are heard.

Relevance to Theme: The session will improve the trust human right activists have in the Internet, and it will provide more guidance about cybersecurity and privacy. This session address one of the reasons to the limitation of good governance and limited growth of the Internet in Africa.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: Youtube and Facebook live broadcast.