Over the last six months, the Global Network Initiative (GNI) has been convening diverse stakeholders from sub-Saharan Africa to discuss pressing freedom of expression and privacy issues in the region. Research and consultations conducted by the GNI to-date indicate that government-enabled surveillance and network disruptions are of particular concern across multiple stakeholder groups, as well as other issues like social media taxes and data protection. Through these discussions, participants representing companies, civil society, and academia, among others, have exchanged important insights into these issues and identified ways multi-stakeholder efforts could advance shared aims.
At the upcoming Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2019 (FIFAfrica19), GNI will convene a session to continue the conversation about pressing freedom of expression and privacy issues in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is for the pan-African assembly of participants to share updates and insights into pressing policy issues as well as collectively identify areas for possible collaborative advocacy between companies and civil society, such as through the development of shared statements or the identification of areas that need more research.
This session will be held on Wednesday September 25 under Chatham House rules and is open to attendees of FIFAfrica19. Please register in advance.
The consultations will extend to a panel taking place on September 26, also convened by GNI, titled “Disrupting Development: How Internet Shutdowns Impede the Sustainable Development Goals”. Speakers on this panel will demonstrate how open and unrestricted access to the internet facilitates achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They will also discuss the consequences of disruptions for the achievement of SDGs, using recent examples of network disruptions in Africa to highlight these effects, and how governments can pursue the SDGs while respecting human rights. As an outcome of this session, attendees will understand the role of the internet in achieving the SDGs and will be equipped with ways to analyse how network disruptions impact their country’s realisation of the goals.
Panellists: Zama Ndege Godden, Blacked Out, Cameroon | Alp Toker, NetBlocks, Turkey | Berhan Taye, AccessNow, Ethiopia
Moderator: Jason Pielemeier, GNI
The GNI is a global multistakeholder network, composed of leading ICT companies, civil society organizations, academics, and investors. GNI’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT industry by setting a global standard for responsible company decision making and by being a leading voice for freedom of expression and privacy rights.