The Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa for 2017 – #FIFAfrica17 – is finally here, starting today and ending tomorrow in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Hosted by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communication (APC)
Why a Forum on Internet Freedom?
As internet use has risen in Africa, so have the abuses and attacks on internet freedom, including a proliferation of laws, legal and extra-legal affronts, as well as limited judicial oversight over surveillance and interception of communications.
- This Forum is one of a kind in Africa that is committed to advancing an understanding and upholding of internet freedoms and how they impact media freedom, free expression, and privacy for a range of civic actors such as journalists, human rights defenders, sexual minorities, women, political actors, and bloggers.
- It is one of very few gatherings that assemble an African audience within the continent to discuss matters related to upholding internet freedom. While similar conferences are held elsewhere (in Asia, America, Europe), it is expensive for Africa-based actors to attend, and for some of these events only bits of the agenda are relevant to Africa.
- The conversation on the need to promote internet freedom is crucial and the Forum provides a unique opportunity for deliberations and building a network of African actors to promote internet freedom for a range of civic actors such as journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders, sexual minorities, women, and political actors.
- Presently, there is minimal collaboration between African tools developers and those on the frontlines defending human rights. The Forum will bring together African technical experts and HRDs to explore ways in which the two can work together in advancing internet freedom, including on testing tools and user interfaces, on digital security training, and secure design. It will empower developers from the region to appreciate internet freedom tools design, and turn them into advocates of secure tools to protect internet freedom.