UNESCO’s Deputy Director General Getachew Engida commended the launch of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms on 4 September during the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul.
The initiative is a “significant milestone in this digital era,” said Mr. Engida, making reference also to the 1993 Windhoek Declaration, the 2001 African Charter on Broadcasting and the 2002 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.
“We warmly welcome the call for UNESCO to integrate the Declaration into our Priority Africa strategies,” he said, adding that UNESCO would continue to promote the social and cultural rights on the Internet as well as the use of local languages and local content online.
“As the UN’s agency that specialized in education, culture, science, and communication-information, we pledge to play our part in the ongoing development of the Internet in the service of humanity.”
The launch of the African Declaration would also be a valuable contribution to UNESCO’s consultative Internet Study and other related work, said the UNESCO Deputy Director-General.
Mr Engida also spoke at an IGF main session on “Policies Enabling Access, Growth and Development on the Internet”, and held bilateral meetings with a range of actors including Internet founder Vint Cerf and Google, as well as Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology and Chair of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD).
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