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APC is hosting a pre-event, titled Internet Rights are Human Rights: Development, Empowerment and Access to the Internet on Monday September 26. The event is open to anyone attending the IGF which starts the following day.

Watch the pre-event live and ask us your questions!

The event programme and invitation flyer are now available online.

IMPORTANT Download instructions of how to get to the event and register

Access is a multi-faceted concept. In developing countries, for example, technical, commercial and policy obstacles prevent universal, affordable access to infrastructure and greater understanding is needed of how access to infrastructure and knowledge can foster economic transformation, assist to fight poverty and promote social and human development.

The question of equitable access to the internet is central not only to development but to exercising human rights. Yet many governments are increasingly relying on restricting access as a means of quelling public dissent, and the last year has seen communications blackouts become commonplace during periods of unrest. These kinds of restrictions violate basic rights like freedom of expression and freedom of association.

Addressing access as a rights issue is an important counterbalance to the purely economic considerations, like intellectual property rights, which often drive the debate in international policy circles.

Internet Rights are Human Rights: Development, Empowerment and Access to the Internet

Date and time: Monday September 26 10am-6pm
Venue address: United Nations Office, Room 12
For more information contact


Opening and welcome (10h00-10h15)
Remarks from hosts and partners

Session I – Access, human rights and development (10h15-11h15)
Panel: Bidi Bala, Nigeria; Pranom Samwong, Vietnam; Graciela Selaimen, Brazil; Grace Githaiga, Kenya; Romulo Neves, Brazil on:

How can access to infrastructure and knowledge in the context of developing countries: foster transformation of education, innovation, entrepreneurship; assist to fight poverty and promote social and human development?
Does access to the internet impact on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association?

Johan Hallenborg, Sweden – commentary


Session II – Obstacles to universal affordable access (11h30-12h30)
Multiple perspectives on the approach to universal equitable access from: Sascha Meinrath, USA; Anja Kovacs, India; Jeremy Malcolm, Australia, Honey Tan, Malaysia, Shahzad Ahmad, Pakistan, Peter Hellmonds, Germany

What are the main technical, commercial and policy obstacles on the ground for achieving universal affordable access to infrastructure (particularly to broadband internet access) in developing countries?
What are the main current obstacles to access to knowledge and content online, particularly in developing countries?

Steve Song, South Africa – commentary

LUNCH 12h30-14h00

Session III – What can we do? Policy and regulatory options (14h00-16h00)
Break-out group session followed by panel discussion on outcome of break-out groups:

What are the challenges and opportunities for policy makers and the broader Internet community?
What are the regulatory and policy options to address obstacles to access to infrastructure and knowledge/content?
What are the roles of the policy makers and the broader Internet community?

Panel: Giacomo Mazzione; Carlos Afonso; Willie Currie; Ben Akoh; Jochem de Groot.

Joy Liddicoat, APC – commentary


Summary of the day (16h15 – 16h45)
Relate to Focus Questions on access, infrastructure and development. Aspects to take forward into the IGF.

Facilitators: Joy Liddicoat and Chat Garcia Ramilo

Closing Joint APC and Giganet Plenary Discussion (17h00-18h00)

Co-Chairs: Anriette Esterhuysen (APC) and Bill Drake (University of Zurich and Giganet) with a panel made up of academics and activists who will consider what the key issues are that need to be raised in the IGF to promote equitable access to the internet.

Photo by Steve Rhode. Used with permission under Creative Commons License 2.0