Live debate: Challenges facing MENA civil society in the IG space?
Challenges facing MENA civil society in the Internet governance space
Date: 26 September 2016 Time: 14UTC -15UTC Platform: Google Hangouts
Mr. Rafik Dammak, Moderator, Tunisia
Mr. Mohamed Tarakiyee, Open Source Association, Jordan
Mr. Walid Al-Saquaf, ISOC trustee, Yemen
Ms. Elsa Saade, Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Lebanon
Mr. Hamza Ben Mehrez, Policy Analyst Lead IGmena, Tunisia
The landscape of Internet governance has been changing for many years with the emergence of new trends and topics bringing more issues and areas to be covered. However, the participation from the MENA region seems unheard and invisible compared to other developing regions. This is even more acute for the case of civil society including activists and NGOs, who are facing several challenges in term of participation in the national policymaking process and are far from influencing them.
This is also impacting indirectly the involvement in more global and regional processes such in ICANN. There were also some attempts like the Arab IGF to set up a multi-stakeholder environment for Internet policy discussions including all parties, but civil society has repeatedly faced several barriers for engagement there.
To move away from this situation and push for more civic and democratic engagement, we need to first understand the barriers and risks faced by civil society in the region and explore possible approaches to overcome those challenges: either by learning from other experiences or by conceiving original solutions.
The hangout is aimed to highlight the difficulties regarding civil society participation, to identify what must be done to solve them,and outline the strategies that can be followed by civil society actors in the region.
What is the current state of civil society participation in Internet governance?
What are the main challenges faced by activists and NGOs involved in Internet policy in the region?
What are the main reasons behind the (possible) success and failures of those actors?
What are the best practices and possible strategies that can be recommended and employed by activists to be more effective?
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 MENA region. It encourages more interaction among IG and policy stakeholders to share their contribution on the current developments in the field. The debates aim to meet the specific needs of Arab 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 Arab 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 Arab region through raising awareness among various stakeholders and engaging them in the Internet Governance process.