IGF 2023 WS #214 Marginalized countries: Technology for or versus Democracy?


Human Rights & Freedoms
Counter-terrorism and Human Rights
Internet Shutdowns
Rights to Access and Information
Technology in International Human Rights Law

Organizer 1: Ábida Pereira, Universidade de Brasília
Organizer 2: Denise Leal, Brazilian Youth (CGI) & UNB
Organizer 3: Eduardo Leal, Brazil IT Institute
Organizer 4: Shadrach Ankrah, Ghana Youth IGF
Organizer 5: Qasim Pirzada, 🔒falcon youth learning platform
Organizer 6: Hailu Melaku, 🔒

Speaker 1: ABRAHAM SELBY, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 2: Denise Leal, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Qasim Pirzada, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 4: Hailu Melaku, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 5: Ellioth Pierre PAUL, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Eduardo Leal, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Online Moderator

Shadrach Ankrah, Technical Community, African Group


Ábida Pereira, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

A- How technology impacts democracies, especially in marginalized countries?
B- Platforms, especially AIs, are being used as instruments of control in favor or against democracy?
C- How can online hate speech impact the democracy process?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The session is expected to raise awareness about the importance of always highlighting in the dialogues and best practices of technology use: freedom, human rights, and democracy. Participants will gain understanding of the work done by youth-led initiatives, and access to a report that summarizes the discussions, case analyses, and recommendations presented during the session; which will serve as a reference for researchers, policy makers, and practitioners involved in the field of Technology and Democracy.

It is expected to stimulate the engagement of youth leaders, policymakers and platforms. At the end we will invite participants to review our work and discuss our proposals, while the output of this session will be shared with governments, international and non-governmental organizations.


Is technology an ally or an enemy of democracy in nations? There are examples of both situations. It is possible to observe a kind of “resilience” of the internet in relation to authoritarian regimes. On the other hand, there is also a pattern of democratic deterioration caused by the internet in some countries where the government polarizes the public debate by spreading disinformation through social media, while starting to disregard opponents' counter-arguments, and only later starting to threaten democratic institutions more directly.

Youth-led initiatives, such as research, reports, social movements and regulation working groups are emerging as a powerful force propelling this journey towards democracy and safety in the use of the internet and technology. This session aims to shed light on these initiatives and their potential for creating a more democratic future.

To set the context, the discussion will begin with the exploration of Addis Ababa Messages from IGF 2022 pertinent to Human Rights. Our young panelists, leading the change in their respective domains, will discuss the current state of Democracy in their regions, cases of Counterterrorism, Internet Shutdowns, and all types of movements of any kind instigated or suppressed by technologies that may endanger the freedom of the people, the lives of individuals, and democracy.

In this session, different stakeholders, all of them experts in the field, will present recent cases, controversial and polemic legislations, court decisions, and discuss the importance of clear regulations and which strategies they consider the most accurate to ensure that technology is an ally of Democracy.

Expected Outcomes

Session Outcomes
Identification of key challenges faced by groups in accessing democracy and using technology.
Exchange of best practices and innovative approaches to promote equity, inclusion, and diversity in digital democracies.
Generation of actionable policy recommendations and strategies to promote equitable access, representation, and effective use of technology in democracy for underrepresented populations.

Specific Outcomes
report summarizing key findings, insights, and policy recommendations generated during the session. This publication will be shared widely with IGF participants, policy makers, and relevant stakeholders.
Compilation of best practices and case studies that present successful initiatives and approaches about democracy and technology. This resource will be disseminated through online platforms.
Follow-up event or workshop with the purpose of continuing the dialogue and building on the discussions and outcomes of the initial session. This event will provide an opportunity for further collaboration, knowledge exchange, and development of concrete action plans to address the identified challenges.

Hybrid Format: The session aims to facilitate a roundtable where participants will be part of the session itself.
Tentative agenda:
5’: Introduction and background. The moderator explains how the session will take place and points out that attendees can ask questions by using the hand-raising option or in the chat (online), or by requesting the floor (onsite).
40’: The moderator introduces the policy issues and addresses the speakers with questions in a roundtable fashion.
10’: Open floor. The moderator invites all participants to take the floor either online or onsite.
5’: Key takeaways (rapporteur) and conclusions.

The session is going to ensure interactions through a Q&A and comment section in the online application where the session will be taking place (e.g. Zoom). Both online and onsite moderators will make sure that the questions and comments are not overlooked through effective communication, but play an important role throughout the session