How to ruin elections in Africa, cybercrime laws focus of 2018 internet freedom forum

Panelists at Facebook Roundtable on Fake News at the Internet Freedom Forum
Panelists at Facebook Roundtable on Fake News at the Internet Freedom Forum

The 2018 Internet Freedom Forum will provide a platform to discuss issues relating to digital rights and inclusion in Africa, the organisers, Paradigm Initiative, have said.

The forum is holding between April 24 and 26 in Abuja.

According to Tope Ogundipe, the Director of Programs of Paradigm Initiative, IFF2018 will provide an important platform to discuss issues that bother many Africans.

The sessions and side-sessions at IFF 2018 will cover some of the most pertinent themes, including ‘How to Ruin Elections in Africa,’ ‘Cybercrime Laws and Freedom of Expression,’ and ‘Bridging Gender Knowledge Gap in Wikipedia.’

“The forum will also discuss the state of internet in various African countries with report from scores of, ‘Gender, Open Data and AI: Intersecting for Digital Equality,’ ‘Empowering Human Rights Defenders in Digital Era In Africa,’ and ‘Building a Healthy Internet in Africa.’

The forum comes at an important time when many Africans fear for their freedom online.

According to the Lagos-based Paradigm Initiative, “the Forum helps bring attention to important issues confronting digital rights such as data privacy, internet shutdown, access to the internet, among others.”

The Forum, over the years, has gained the reputation as the platform where experts deliberate on issues relating to digital rights and inclusion. Now in its the sixth edition, it will welcome delegates from about 30 countries, including Uganda, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Cameroon, Togo, United Kingdom and the United States.

The Forum will also be live-streamed to the world to encourage virtual participation.

Speakers at the Forum will include Ayisha Osori, the author of Love Does not Win Elections; Tolu Ogunlesi, Nigerian President’s Special Assistant on Digital Media; and Titi Akinsanmi, Head, Government Relations and Public Policy at Google.

Others are Dapo Olorunyomi, the publisher of Premium Times; Akua Gyekye, Facebook’s Public Policy Manager; and Afef Abrougui of Ranking Digital Rights.

“The range and depth of the discussions which have taken place at previous editions of the IFF has positioned the IFF as one of the premier platforms for shaping the conversations and policy outcomes on the Internet in Africa,” Ms Ogundipe said.

“The diversity of conversations also caters for the diverse range of participants within the continent and beyond, and across civil society, private sector, academia, government and other stakeholders.”

The forum, which holds at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja, is supported by organisations including Microsoft, Ford Foundation, Google, Facebook, Premium Times, The Guardian and Civicus.

Session organisers at the Forum include Amnesty International, Web Foundation, BudgIT and Mozilla.

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