IGF 2019 WS #309 State of African Internet Expression

Organizer 1: Gabriel Karsan, INTERNET SOCIETY [email protected]
Organizer 2: Nancy Njoki Wachira, INTERNET SOCIETY [email protected]
Organizer 3: Daniel Bill Opio, INTERNET SOCIETY [email protected]
Organizer 4: Samuel Osei Mensah, INTERNET SOCIETY [email protected]
Organizer 5: Lily Edinam Botsyoe, INTERNET SOCIETY [email protected]
Organizer 6: Chibuzor Njoku, INTERNET SOCIETY [email protected]

Speaker 1: Gabriel Karsan, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Nancy Njoki Wachira, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 3: Daniel Bill Opio, Civil Society, African Group

Policy Question(s): 

What are the important policy frameworks to be set in support of accountable data publication in digital platforms?
Should single central authority have the power to conduct an internet shut down and control the flow of data?
Why should we implement data governance among stakeholders to protect rights of expressions and journalists online?
How responsible should users be when sharing and engaging with data online?
Digital rights and transparency of data, how to implement proper policies and regulations that are amicable in both parties without harming freedoms, breaching human rights among stakeholder groups?

Relevance to Theme: Opio

The embattled digital era of expression faces core shift in adversarial relationships that exist between the important stakeholders groups, most relevantly is the decade long indictment of Jullian Assange with what wikileaks does.
WikiLeaks helped change the democratic shift of Kenya in 2007 with its document that completely changed the value of Kenya and East Africa journalism, a testimonial of new digital journalism and the power it wields! Since then we have seen a crackdown in digital rights among Africas nations, starting with a story of Azory Gwanda a journalist who was pursuing allegedly government related killings he has been kidnapped for more than 500 days! And there are numerous people facing charges and atrocities from the government due to an expression that the government proposed a media act bill in Tanzania part of the justification of current ongoings, that saw massive censorship and absurd regulations in terms of bloggers and online content dissemination in the digital sphere.
Uganda sees this with the internet shutdowns, introduction of the OTT tax as a means of controlling the flow of information, this has led drastic economic impacts and paradigm shift of expression online, similar trends of faults in internet has been practiced in Sudan and Zimbabwe, The internet is being radicalized as a threat to proper running of the government and young people we are the ones impacted most, our existence is online a cultures , a common philosophy we share.
The value of data and digital journalism, expression and association is constantly being persecuted, authentic and quality based facts and ethics of expression are legal only to the extent it doesn't concern the government or powerful institutions, the Internet is an accountability platform that has given checks and balances by speaking truth to power! We see the Arab spring brought live by young people on social media. Sudan Revolution with young people sharing online for support and joining to demand their rights.
Our workshop is a narration of the truths we face, an authentic dialogue of truth of what we face by these conditions in our regions and we seek to create relationships, generate meaningful ways and connections to equip ourselves with possible ways to lead the more inclusion of open and credible data governance strategies and policies to protect human rights and fundamental liberties of expression online.
The Digital platform is not a safe haven for voices but it's an amplifies station broadcasting with impact with more reach faster and effective than ever before, this is a powerful for development and growth, we aim to share how its impact has generated opportunities for us and how the current trend of internet shutdowns, crackdown of digital rights has negative effects to the progressive nature of our nations and the pursuit of opportunities and livelihood online for young people

Relevance to Internet Governance: Without having the multi-stakeholder approach implemented in Data governance the conflicts of interest due to misunderstanding and misrepresentation arise. That's why Journalism in the Digital sphere faces a lot of prejudice from government in my country because there's hasn't been an accessible relevant ecosystem to bring these two parties on board and innovate in a mutual manner, that what internet governance tries to offer the state of the African expression is controlled mostly by Government as the sole power and authority over data, data dissemination and accessibility. They set rules of what should and can be done even though it's directly against the constitution and human rights. Decentralization, openness and end to end delivery are features of the internet and has made it successful as a data hub of this modern age, exponentially growing and opening up opportunities for economies to turn into technocracies with free and abundant innovation for anyone to pursue due to the invariants of the internet and it's nature. Yet today we face the downgrade due to shutdowns, infringement of digital rights, cracks and censorship on data delivery and expression something that internet governance is involved in Fixing and creating equitable systems that protect users and consolidate the nature of the Internet in being an egalitarian space of expression and innovation. True freedom of thought, speech, association and expression in a digital platform for all to utilize safely and freely.


Debate - Auditorium - 60 Min

From distinct young people with a passion, this session offers in-depth analysis of the state of expression in Africa and the way out from our panelists and your views, dive into statements, historical contexts and meaningful debates on the potency of data governance in the protection of digital platforms for expression.
We aim to craft an interactive dialogue based narrative of tackling the infringement of digital rights, internet shut down and lack of data sovereignty among nations and stakeholder groups.
A draft recommendation report will be made to be shared, and a movement to act as liaisons of advice among stakeholder groups to create better policy and regulatory frameworks by using Data governance principles to achieve sustainability and protect human rights and freedoms of expression

Expected Outcomes: Recommendation paper on how to implement data governance to protect digital rights and human rights of expression
Increased awareness of the state of digital rights infringement in African Counties
Proposed Data for good campaign to run as a model to create correlations among stakeholder groups when it comes to data ownership, sharing and accessibility

Onsite Moderator: 

Lily Edinam Botsyoe, Technical Community, African Group

Online Moderator: 

Samuel Osei Mensah, Civil Society, African Group


Chibuzor Njoku, Civil Society, African Group

Discussion Facilitation: 

We intend to run a narrative based workshop, from personal experience that will include open dialogue, discussions and group recommendations to gain insights after sharing our topic

Online Participation: 

Usage of IGF Tool


GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions