Bread&Net 2019: Advancing human rights in digitally networked spaces in the Middle East and North Africa

Bread&Net 2018 attendees playing PROXY, during a session testing the board game designed to teach Lebanese youth about online mobile privacy and security. Photo: Muriele Honein/SMEX)


Bread&Net is a three-day “unconference” organised by APC network member Social Media Exchange (SMEX), where activists, technologists, lawyers, artists, trainers, journalists, researchers, entrepreneurs and others from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will come together in Beirut, Lebanon from 15 to 17 November to strengthen collective efforts to advance human rights in digitally networked spaces.

Over the past decade, civil society has become dependent on access to digital networks and tools. In the MENA region, however, the advantages these networks and tools afford have been mitigated by increasingly restrictive laws, scaled-up mass surveillance, disinformation campaigns, and crackdowns on online freedom of expression. The resulting constriction of civic space has all but neutralised advocacy for digital rights.

The first iteration of Bread&Net, in 2018, reactivated and renewed an existing, latent network of multidisciplinary stakeholders by offering an open, safe physical space, unavailable in many other countries in the MENA region, from which to devise strategies and tactics that respond to these challenges.

This year’s Bread&Net programme will be 100% participant built. Sessions and workshops will be organised around five central themes, each addressing a priority topic for discussion and action identified by various communities in the MENA region.

The five themes are:

  • Policy and Advocacy in Difficult Contexts

  • Digital Security Education and Practice

  • Communities and Networks

  • Cultural and Knowledge Production Online

  • Autonomous Alternatives.

An overview of the themes and the issues and topics addressed by each can be found here.

If you are interested in contributing to Bread&Net 2019 by submitting a session and taking part in enriching the discussion on MENA digital rights, click here. The deadline for submissions is 15 August.

To register to attend, click here.

SMEX is a registered Lebanese non-profit that conducts training, research and advocacy on strategic communications and human rights in a digital world. Its mission is to promote expanded and informed participation of the more than 300 million people living in Middle East and North African countries as they push for more just, equitable, and democratic societies.




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