Nigeria may get Internet Freedom Charter soon

Nigeria may be on its way to having an Internet Freedom Charter, according to Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), a social enterprise that connects under-served youth with ICT opportunities to improve their livelihoods.

As part of efforts towards achieving this, PIN had hosted 40 representatives of civil society groups, private sector and other stakeholders, leading to the delivery of the fi rst draft of an Internet Freedom Charter for Nigeria.

To ensure an encouraging policy environment for the youth we work with, PIN also contributes to Information and Communication Technology policy discussions.

According to the Executive Director of PIN, Gbenga Sesan, who led discussions at the forum, PIN’s interest in Internet policy got a boost with the news, in April 2013, that the Federal Government had awarded a contract for internet surveillance in Nigeria.

“In addition to our advocacy work, including a pending case now going for appeal in court, we’ve also focused on capacity building,” he said, noting that PIN released a policy brief on the subject of Internet freedom and will host an Internet policy workshop for various stakeholders in Lagos in November 2013.

Sesan said: “At the just ended Internet Freedom Forum by Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, representatives from academic institutions, Civil Society Groups, and other stakeholders in the ICT industry gathered at Rockview Hotel Royale to discuss issues and various indices centered on Internet Freedom in Nigeria.”

“After the keynote, and follow-up discussion on the subject, participants worked in groups to discuss issues and draw up components of the document that is now the fi rst draft of an Internet Freedom Charter for Nigeria.”

He added:”We have to be sure that our rights as citizens are not violated, hence this conversation on the type of Internet space we want to see in Nigeria, going forward.”

A highlight of the draft charter includes resolutions on cyber laws, surveillance and privacy groups, open governance, access for knowledge, and freedom of expression and association.

Sesan explained that PIN will coordinate feedback over the next few weeks until October 31, especially as relevant activities hold across the world on the theme, saying a fi nal draft will be reviewed by a group of experts in November 2013.

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