Live debate: How to build strong online organizing movements for Internet policy advocacy in the MENA region?
Topic: How to build strong online organizing movements for Internet policy advocacy in the MENA region?
Date: 24 November 2016 Time: 14:00 CET – 15:00 CET Platform: Google Hangouts
Mr. Riyadh Al Balushi, PhD student at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London, Oman
Ms. Wafa Ben Hassine, policy analyst at Access Now, Tunisia
Mr. Mohamed Omran, executive director at Democratic Transition & Human Rights Support (DAAM), Egypt
Mr. Muhamed Munjed Hameed, senior content strategist at Breakthrough Media Network Ltd., Blogger at Iraqi Network for Social Media (INSM), Iraq
Throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), state governance has affected the respect of human rights and the prospect of democracy, which is illustrated by the case study of the trilogy of Internet governance, human rights, and policy advocacy that still remain dysfunctional when it comes to setting the agenda for tangible Internet policy implementation. However, the quest to achieve a genuine and efficient Internet governance multistakeholder framework to promote human rights and democratic governance in Europe, Latin America, and South East Asia has been ongoing. This commitment has been translated into policy instruments like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
With the advent of social technologies, the number of possibilities to facilitate, nurture and engage online communities has boomed. The power of online communities can build personal relationships and networks of trust, bring together people with common interests or profiles and engage these specific groups of people in meaningful Internet governance policy discussion. Depending on the goals you want to serve and the target groups you want to engage, there are different types of online communities. The outcomes we want to strive for in the MENA region is to engage a community that aims to fulfill several advocacy objectives on Net neutrality, cyber security, mass surveillance and censorship. Depending on these objectives, online communities will require more or fewer resources, dedication, and value.
In this hangout, we will examine how state governance in the MENA region has affected the status of human rights and democracy. Furthermore, what are the online and offline policies to put forward to translate civil society online activism into real multistakeholder policy discussion with meaningful and tangible outcomes? How to build a bridge between democratic governance and IG human rights policy to achieve a true test of the quality of Internet governance policies to a degree to which it delivers on the promises of human rights in the civil, cultural, economic and social context ? How to build strong online communities that might already exist but need to grow through social media, corporate blogs and dedicated community platforms. There is a fundamental need to identify them, provide them with home bases to interact and nurture them on IG activism through the Web.
This iGmena hangout will bring together experts from the MENA region to look at how the Internet users' activities are critical to the development and success of Web 2.0 systems such as online communities. Within the community's participation, knowledge sharing and communications, users may conduct diplomatic behavior that would have a positive impact on IG policy advocacy in the MENA region. This iGmena hangout will contribute theoretically and empirically to the practical implications for virtual community management on Internet governance policies in the MENA region.
How did the state governance affect the status and respect of human rights and democracy before and after the Arab uprising?
What are the strategies you can think of to achieve a better state governance and IG human rights policy in your country?
How to build strong online communities that might already exist in your local context and need to grow through social media, corporate blogs, and dedicated community platforms?
In the advent of social technologies, can the web offer, facilitate, nurture and engage online communities' relationships and networks of trust to bring people with common interests or profiles together to engage with your government officials?
What outcomes do we strive for in the MENA region? Is it to engage an organized online community to fulfill several advocacy objectives such net neutrality, cyber security, mass surveillance and online censorship?
What are the online and offline policies that should be endorsed and implemented in the MENA context to translate civil society online activism into real multistakeholder policy discussion with meaningful and tangible human rights outcomes?
iGmena organizes monthly online debates on Internet governance (IG), addressing topics covering local, regional, and global issues.
The main objective of these debates is to facilitate the discussion on IG issues specific to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It encourages more interaction among Internet govenance stakeholders as well as policymakers to share their contribution on the current developments in the field. The debates aim to meet the specific needs of MENA netizens and to put forward timely and relevant topics that will encourage participants to exchange points of views, articulate challenges and concerns, and define shared concepts. This series of live debates will also serve as a tool to keep the iGmena community growing, connected, and active about current IG issues.
Each session has a main speaker who presents the debate topic, accompanied by several other contributors. The discussion is moderated and facilitated by iGmena, providing space for viewers to share their comments, post their contributions, and raise their questions to the speakers to feed the debate.
The language used during the online debates is either Arabic or English. The debates are open to the general public. The audience includes the iGmena community, networks and organisations active in the IG field from the MENA region, and anyone from the international audience who would like to participate and contribute.
One week before each live debate, an update with information about the forthcoming debate on Google Hangouts is published on the iGmena website and shared with the iGmena network. Those who are interested will be able to join the debate and share their comments until the end of the live session. The video is available on the iGmena website after the live broadcast (via the iGmena Youtube channel), open for new comments as well as suggestions on new topics. In addition, a summary of the main points addressed during the online debate is published on the iGmena website.
This series of debates is part of iGmena's advocacy for freedom of expression and freedom of information in the MENA region through raising awareness among various stakeholders and engaging them in Internet governance processes.