The Deputy Director General of UNESCO, Mr. Getachew Engida, has commended the launch of the African Declaration of Internet Rights and Freedoms during the 9th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held in Turkey.
He described the initiative as a “significant milestone in this digital era,” and made reference to other similar progressive documents in Africa such as the 1993 Windhoek Declaration, the 2001 African Charter on Broadcasting and the 2002 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.
The African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms is a Pan-African initiative to promote human rights standards and principles of openness in internet policy formulation and implementation on the continent.
“We warmly welcome the call for UNESCO to integrate the Declaration into our Priority Africa strategies,” Mr. Endiga said, adding that UNESCO would continue to promote the social and cultural rights on the Internet as well as the use of local languages and local content online.
“As the UN’s agency that specialized in education, culture, science, and communication-information, we pledge to play our part in the ongoing development of the Internet in the service of humanity.”
The Declaration builds on well-established African human rights documents including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981, the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press of 1991, the African Charter on Broadcasting of 2001, the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa of 2002, and the African Platform on Access to Information Declaration of 2011.
The idea for an African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms was agreed on, at the 2013 African Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. A broader meeting was subsequently convened in Johannesburg in February 2014 to commence drafting the Declaration.
For enquiries about the Declaration please contact:
Sulemana Braimah, Media Foundation for West Africa: Sulemana@mfwa.org
Edetaen Ojo, Media Rights Agenda: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dixie Hawtin, Global Partners Digital: Dixie@gp-digital.org
Emilar Vushe, Association for Progressive Communications: Emilar@apc.org