5 July 2017

Kenya: Role of Internet During Elections Key at the This Year's Kenya Internet Governance Forum

Photo: Dennis Agaba/The New Times
(file photo).

Role of Internet during elections is set to take center stage at the 10th Internet Governance Forum set to be held tomorrow in Nairobi Kenya. The move comes at a time when Kenya is geared to the General Elections slated for 8th August 2017.

UNESCO will support Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANET) to hold Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Conference in Nairobi, Kenya themed "Shape your Digital Future!". The conference aims to serve as a platform for policy dialogue on issues of Internet governance in Kenya.

In support of the role of internet in elections, other topics to be discussed during the conference, will include Surveillance and Human rights online, Policies Enabling Access and Digital literacy in the age of e-government, Cyber-security, Review of Kenya's ICT policy, Universal Service Fund, IFMIS and its challenges among others.

"These topics are important in light of the August general election, and the fact that technology will be deployed at a level that has not happened in the previous general elections. In addition, a pattern has emerged in the region where governments have shut down the Internet during times of political agitations," read a statement from the UNESCO website.

The statement further said, "The IGF is a unique platform for all stakeholders to openly exchange perspectives and concerns on key issues that may affect the future of the Internet for millions of Kenyans."

This year's forum will attract participation of stakeholders from government, private sector, technical community, academia and civil society to discuss Internet governance issues on an equal footing through an open and inclusive process in line with UNESCO's Main Line of Action MLA 1, which focuses on promoting an enabling environment for freedom of expression, press freedom and journalistic safety, facilitating pluralism and participation in media, and supporting sustainable and independent media institutions in Kenya.

The outcomes from the Kenya Internet Governance Forum are expected to feed into the Global IGF slated for December 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland under the global theme of "Shape Your Digital Future!."

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Internet Governance Forum since its inception in 2006. The IGF is a forum for multi-stakeholder dialogue on public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance issues, such as the Internet's sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development. The United Nations Secretary-General formally announced the establishment of the IGF in July 2006 and the first meeting was convened in October/November 2006.

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