The National Internet Governance forum facilitated by MISA-Zimbabwe in Harare, aimed at debating and deliberating on the national importance of the internet and its governance in Zimbabwe, came up with resolutions and a way forward with regards to internet governance in Zimbabwe.
The forum mainly deliberated on ways to increase investments in infrastructure to enhance access and reduce costs on data, the platform also tackled issues to do with net neutrality as well as modern instruments that cater for freedom of online expression.
By Shyline Guvakuva
Our full video edited with all short clips to the event.
Watch the PD speech now below
Rueben Gwatidzo adds his notes too.
Affirming our support and acceptance of the establishment of the Zimbabwe Internet Governance Forum, in line with global and continental best practices as established under the World Summit on Information Societies and International Telecommunications Union both of which our country Zimbabwe is signatory to ,learning from the experiences our brothers and sisters from the Southern African region.
With the knowledge that our new constitution specifically recognizes the right of all Zimbabweans to freedom of expression, media freedom, access to information and the right to privacy, all of which include the right to access, use and enjoy the ICTS, the internet and cyberspace.
Hereby resolve the following principles and actions with regard to internet governance in Zimbabwe;
1. Access and Affordability For All: That the internet being a cornerstone tool/mechanism for the enjoyment of the rights of all Zimbabweans to freedom of expression, access to information, right to privacy, and media freedom as outlined in the new constitution, must be accessible and affordable for all of our country’s citizens regardless of gender, race and class.
2. Promotion of Government Public Accountability: That the internet remains a key tool through which citizens can interact with their governments in pursuit of democratic accountability, transparency and national development.
3. Democratic Regulation: That regulation of the internet must be undertaken in a democratic, participatory, accountable and independent fashion by the state in consultation with all stakeholders and civil society.
4. Internet Regulation Principles That internet regulation must be guided by the following key principles:
a. Protecting the democratic rights of all citizens to freedom of expression, access to information, privacy and protection of intellectual property
b. Ensuring that all Zimbabweans have access to the internet
c. Access to the internet must be affordable and predicated on net-neutrality
d. Infrastructure development and competition must be friendly to the environment and predicated on environmental sustainability
e. Competition between telecommunications corporations, internet service providers, content providers and other ancillary services be fairly regulated in the interest of promoting access, diversity and affordability and respect for human rights
5. Internet-Based Entrepreneurship: That government and stakeholders must value the internet as a key mechanism for innovation, investment, entrepreneurship , access to new markets and employment for many Zimbabweans in both the present and the future
6. Copyright: That copyright on the internet be a priority for policy makers and all internet stakeholders in order to protect intellectual property rights.
7. The Internet of Things: That we contextualize the emergence ‘internet of things’ in our context to our national development needs in a manner that is inclusive, affordable and accessible for all Zimbabweans
8. Advocacy and Public Awareness: That government, relevant stakeholders and civil society organizations must continue with public awareness campaigns on the importance of the internet as not only a developmental and entrepreneurial tool but also as an emerging and inevitable technological cornerstone of freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom
9. Promotion and Development of Local Content: That there be the active encouragement and investment in the production and development of local content that is gender sensitive and focused on our national context.
10. Decriminalization of Freedom of Expression: That in order for the internet to reach its fullest potential of allowing Zimbabweans to enjoy their human rights, stakeholders actively embrace the decriminalization of freedom of expression
11. Cyber-security: That there be a democratic arrival at a cyber-security framework in relation to national and regional security, protection of privacy and protection of private property but remains true to the right of all citizens to freedom of expression, media freedom and access to information.
12. Regional Solidarity and Lessons Learnt: That Zimbabweans continue interacting and learning from our neighboring countries in the Southern African, African and broader international community on key developments, success stories and democratic regulatory frameworks around internet governance
13. Coordination of Efforts: That there be greater coordination efforts between various initiatives around internet governance frameworks.
14. Corporate Monopolies and Censorship: To engage corporate entities in internet service provision and telecommunications on all issues to with censorship and respect for human rights and further engagement with the public on issues of internet governance.