Elections in Cameroon: Ideas to Fight Disinformation and Hate Speech Online
Internet Without Borders, in partnership with Internet Society, Access Now, and Paradigm Initiative, convenes a colloquium in Yaoundé, Cameroon,on September 12 and 13, 2018, to discuss Digital Rights in Election Times. The multi-stakeholder colloquium is the first of its kind in the country, and will gather participants from the Government of Cameroon, Internet service providers, online service providers, as well civil society representatives, and academia to discuss the fight against online disinformation and hate speech, and the necessary preservation of the freedom of expression on the Cameroonian cyberspace.
The proposed colloquium comes at a time when propaganda, hate speech, violent content and disinformation are increasingly spreading on the Cameroonian cyberspace, fueling ethnocentrism and a crisis that began in October 2016. These harmful contents may be used as a justification for major network disruptions in Cameroon, after the ones witnessed in the North and South Western regions in 2017. In the meantime, content moderation by social media platforms is under scrutiny, for risks of arbitrary deletion, as UN’s special rapporteur on Freedom of expression, David Kaye, points out in his latest report to the Human Rights Council.
How to manage harmful content, while preserving the fundamental freedom of expression? What is a proportionate and necessary way of dealing with such content, in accordance with International law requirements? These questions will be at the center of the first ever multi-stakeholder dialogue organized in Cameroon.
« As a member of the Global Network Initiative, Internet Without Borders knows the importance of this multi-stakeholder dialogue, in the solving of the challenges posed by the technology in our societies. We hope that this colloquium will help participants work better together to limit harmful speeches on the Cameroonian cyberspace, and eventually preserve connectivity and online freedom of expression, » says Julie Owono, the executive director of Internet Without Borders.
Network disruptions are becoming the norm in Africa. They are increasingly used by governments, but are detrimental for burgeoning digital economies on the continent.