Internet Freedom Forum (IFF) is an arena where tough topical global issues around Internet rights, especially in Africa, are discussed between civil society, technology companies, government, academia and other stakeholders. In the past, we have discussed issues around surveillance, data privacy, freedom of expression online, the Internet and democratic governance, constitutionalism and digital rights amongst many other topics with participants drawn from multiple stakeholder groups including government, civil society and the private sector.
The Internet Freedom Forum has a track record of producing tangible, actionable outcomes. For example, the 2014 edition of the Forum produced a dynamic legislation, the Digital Rights and Freedom bill, which seeks to protect the Digital Rights of Nigerians, and is currently being consulted for replicability from other jurisdictions around the world. Interestingly, the bill has now gone past the second reading and public hearing stage at the House of Representatives.
Also, conversations around the Forum in the 2016 edition spurred the need for research and reports such as the ‘Status of Internet Freedom Report in Nigeria’ and more recently, the ‘Digital Rights Africa 2016 Report’ launched at 11th edition of the Internet Governance Forum in Guadalajara, Mexico on December 8, 2016. Both reports addressed the need to accelerate the conversations on Internet Freedom, and serves as a basis for a comparison of digital rights across Africa.
IFF 2017 held at Sheraton Hotels & Towers, Lagos, from April 25 through 27, and was attended by participants from over 30 countries, including Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya, Mauritius, Malawi, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Canada, United Kingdom and United States. Proceedings at IFF 2017 was bilingual – English and French – to cater for the diversity of participants attending.
We are grateful for the support received from our partners towards the 2017 Internet Freedom Forum. Thank you, Ford Foundation, Google, Facebook, AccessNow, Heinrich Böll Stiftung Nigeria, Mozilla Foundation and Web Foundation! Read the event report here.