On the occasion of this year’s World Internet Day, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in collaboration with the Ghana Internet Freedom Coalition is calling on governments in West Africa to invest in making the internet more accessible, affordable, free and secure.
It is only when the internet landscape is open and secure that people can optimise its full potential.
“Such an enabling environment will foster innovation; creativity; economic, social and political development. It will also provide a platform for people to express themselves freely without any form of interference,” said Dora B. Mawutor, a Programme Officer of the MFWA.
The MFWA is particularly worried about measures adopted by some West African governments to increasingly undermine freedom of expression and respect for human rights.
“We are therefore calling on them [West African governments] to desist from repressive activities such as surveillance, interception, filtering, spoofing, and the introduction of laws that are inimical to the tenets of freedom of expression so people can openly express their thoughts and ideas without any fear or favour,” she added.
While calling on West African leaders to create the conducive environment necessary for internet use, the MFWA also urges the public, especially the youth, to take full advantage of the potential and opportunities that the internet offers to empower themselves and better their lives through job creation and knowledge sharing.
As a member of the network of organisations working on the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, the MFWA also calls on governments across the continent to endorse the Declaration to promote human rights standards and principles of openness in internet policy formulation and implementation on the continent.
World Internet day is celebrated every October 29 to mark the birth of the internet.