Internet access and human rights online – striking the balance
The 4th Africa Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is currently being held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Forum (AfIGF2015) opened today is organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union bringing stakeholders from Government, Technical and Civil Society bodies to discuss internet governance in Africa.
The Session on internet access and internet rights was moderated by Dr. Towela Jere of the NEPAD Agency; who posed several questions as to whether access to internet can be considered a human right. While there were many discussions surrounding this topic, it was widely agreed that promotion of access to internet is critical and yet internet access is not a human right.
Many participants argued that the internet must be regulated and governed in a more democratic and transparent manner where everyone; including women and girls enjoy the benefits accruing out of it without fear. The internet space should be one that encourage more users online and yet at the same time protect users such as women and girls from abuse online.
There were several discussions on Twitter with the hashtag #AfIGF and many participants expressed their opinion on the same. WOUGNET is represented at the #AfIGF by its first council representative to the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and Program Manager in charge of Internet Governance and Communications work at WOUGNET. Mr. Owiny also made a presentation during the break – away session on recommendations emanating from the WSIS+10 Non-Paper on – Preamble and Follow-up. The Non-Paper will frame the basis of discussions at the next UN General Assembly Meeting on Review of WSIS +10 to be adopted in December 2015.