Skip to main content


From our director

What do Edward Snowden and Miss Internet Bali have in common?

The short answer is that they kept APC very busy in 2013. The long answer is that the struggle for human rights and gender equality on the internet still has a long way to go.

Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing on mass surveillance of online communications done by governments, for governments and on governments – not to mention the rest of us – was the big event of 2013.

Fed to us in batches preselected by journalists – with an irresistible mix of courage and careerism – the news both catalysed and disrupted the growing internet rights and freedom movement.

Was the news a surprise? Not really. But knowledge of the extent of collaboration between internet companies and the US government’s National Security Agency, and further cooperation between many of the governments who have been self-proclaimed leaders of internet freedom, turned out to be just the sharp edge needed to burst the bubble of the rapidly rising internet freedom movement.

This has been both good and bad, and presents challenges and opportunities. Reality checks are important. This particular reality check had as much impact on people inside those governments as it did on the activists who worked with them, and on those who challenged them. It exposed the “good government vs. bad government” discourse (which APC has been opposing since we started our internet rights work in the late 1990s) as not only unhelpful, but also as fundamentally hypocritical. But, unfortunately, it also served as a large-scale public reprieve for the multitude of other governments who practice surveillance (mass and targeted) without due process. Every discussion on surveillance becomes a discussion of what the US, the UK or Sweden is doing. Few discussions focus on the practices of other governments, and when they do occur, those governments often delight in pointing to rights violations in the US.

The other important aspect of the Snowden reality check relates to metadata and the implications of the data mining business models which most users have become complacent about. It has put privacy fully into the spotlight where it belongs and should stay until we succeed in achieving greater respect and protection for it.

Internet users are the victims of a double trade-off: the trade-off that governments always try to sell to us, which is that we have to give up some of our rights in order to be free from crime and terrorism, and the new trade-off, between giving up our privacy, our thoughts, tastes, desires and friends, in return for a “better”, friendlier and more sophisticated user experience.

Many of us were and are suitably cynical about these trade-offs. What we did not realise was the extent of the horse trading between the trade-offs – between governments and corporations bound together, not always comfortably, it has to be said, by a business model that serves both their interests.

What does the year of Snowden mean for APC?

Mostly it strengthened our resolve for the need to deepen and broaden our approach to internet rights. It affirmed our commitment to struggling for freedom of expression and association on the internet, and the protections and rights needed to secure these – such as access, privacy and anonymity.

It also spurred us on to confront the one-dimensionality and exclusivity of the current policy discourse on the internet and human rights. There are huge gaps in research, analysis, general discourse, decisions, advocacy and networking on the internet and human rights.1 This is reflected in a deficit in human rights-related internet policy, regulation and governance. At both global and national levels, internet policy and regulation is not focused on creating an enabling environment for advancing economic, social and cultural rights.2 Where these policies do address links between internet regulation and human rights, they have done so almost exclusively in relation to civil and political rights, and most of these efforts have been driven by developed countries. The mainstream internet rights discourse does not include rights-related issues which are seen by developing country actors to be important to them and their contexts. By and large, developing countries have been either lukewarm followers or active opponents of a rights-based approach to internet policy and regulation.

The same applies for women’s rights, and the rights of sexual minorities. “Miss Internet Bali” was a representative moment in 2013.3 The Indonesian government launched a programme to “promote safe, healthy and productive use of the Internet amongst Indonesian society” but in doing so they promoted entrenched gender stereotypes. The campaign’s primary imagery was a woman dressed like a beauty pageant winner. The 2013 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Bali was identified as a key moment to promote the initiative, which prompted an immediate and outraged response from APC in partnership with many others. We continued to explore the complex terrain of sexual rights, challenging control of online content that deals with sex, sexual identity and orientation, sexual expression and sexual and reproductive health, working with our partners in India and Indonesia. Our work on combating ICT-enabled violence against women went from gathering stories to understanding women’s experiences to identifying remedies at the legal and service provider terms of service level.

What we have learned and what we hope to achieve is reflected in the key result areas in the new strategy developed with members and the board for 2013 to 2016:

Key result areas for 2013-2016:

  1. Securing and defending internet access and rights
  2. Fostering good internet governance
  3. Strengthening use and development of transformative technology
  4. Ending technology-based violence against women
  5. Strengthening APC community networks.


Further, members agreed on the following three cross-cutting goals for the plan period:

  • Building the “information commons”
  • Fostering linguistic diversity
  • Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.


We trust you will enjoy and value reading APC’s 2013 Annual Report, which reflects on some of the achievements of APC members and programmes in tackling these priorities.

My thanks to the APC team for their dedication and creativity, the board for always being available to guide us and provide critical input when we need it, to our supporters and partners, and most of all to the APC members who make APC a living and growing network.

Anriette Esterhuysen


From our chair

2013 was a year whose sum was much greater than its 365 days. Looking back, we might instead measure it in representations of and connections between individuals and groups. There are representatives of communities within formal processes, which are themselves members of other larger communities. The APC community embraces this challenge of representing our diversity by using our special strengths as activists, which are constantly motivated by the pursuit of digital human rights.

For us, there is really no vacuum between local and global struggles. The local-global interconnection seems complete because among our organisations, none of us can remain isolated from the others when our key issues are themselves interconnected.

Diversity is not without its challenges. We are still not equally connected and we are not equally equipped to fight our battles. Connection costs mean equal participation is not always possible at the local or global levels.

Language shapes participation, too. The language of the global internet community, comprised of internet governance bodies and technology corporations, is a powerful, imposing language. Binding decisions are made in English, a second language for many activists, human rights and digital rights advocates, which they are forced to learn, understand and use while somehow preserving the specificity of their own cultural contexts.

Not least of our problems is that of platforms. The online places where our global and even local battles are happening do not belong to us. Google, Facebook and many online services that use cloud computing are hosts for the public’s concerns, which means that our discourse is subject to corporations’ terms of use.

But one must only turn the pages of this report to grasp the incredible and exceptional capacity of the APC community to mitigate these factors. A continuous conversation is taking place from one country to another, from one language to another, from one culture to another, and also among all of them, together, on infrastructure that we have built.

Local experiences, models and initiatives on topics ranging from language diversity, access to infrastructure and women’s rights are parts of a unified plot, connecting the continuum of our knowledge with the discontinuity of our physical space.

The role of APC as an organisation becomes essential to facilitate spaces for all these conversations to happen simultaneously. APC’s Annual Report becomes, then, not just an abstraction of accountability, but a collective exercise carried out by many people to tell one story of many local communities that are also part of the same virtual, global battle.

This complex exercise is never complete. It is one that renews itself, where what happens to one community becomes collective memory and the efforts of the network are then carried out in the context of our shared experience.

From video advocacy stories of migrants in Malaysia to digital farmers’ records in Kenya; from protecting privacy and personal data in Brazilian e-health initiatives to sustaining wireless networks in a war situation in Nigeria; from supporting independent journalism to strengthen free speech and democracy in Bulgaria and Macedonia to promoting internet freedom in Uganda; from countering gender-based violence in Cambodia to contributing to the preservation of indigenous languages through ICTs in Colombia; as these and many more success stories found in this report demonstrate, APC’s greatest strength is indeed its diversity.


About APC

Our vision

These are the ways our activities reinforce one another. For example, research will be published in order to influence policy outcomes. Research might also lead to learning materials that can be used in capacity-building interventions.These are the ways our activities reinforce one another. For example, research will be published in order to influence policy outcomes. Research might also lead to learning materials that can be used in capacity-building interventions.All people have easy and affordable access to a free and open internet to improve their lives and create a more just world.

Our mission

APC’s mission is to empower and support organisations, social movements and individuals in and through the use of ICTs to build strategic communities and initiatives for the purpose of making meaningful contributions to equitable human development, social justice, participatory political processes and environmental sustainability.

APC’s theory of change

We believe that our mission is achieved through five interlinked strategies: research, advocacy, building networks and capacity, communications and outreach. To be instrumental to the APC community, research-based evidence must be communicated effectively in order to support advocacy, which then achieves change as its ultimate goal.



Securing and defending internet access and rights

Advocating for free and affordable access to the internet for communities who need it most

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development meets in New York City on 21 September 2013. Photo itupictures.The Broadband Commission for Digital Development meets in New York City on 21 September 2013. Photo itupictures.Direct national advocacy in broadband and access policies took place in South Africa, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic through formal submissions to public consultations held by governments to develop their national broadband policies. APC staff were invited to be members of the Working Group on Broadband and Gender of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development to help build gender issues into the commission’s work 4. APC also provided input on gender, access and broadband policy recommendations for the UN General Assembly post-2015 development agenda, and participated in the 12th Conference on Women in Latin America in Santo Domingo, contributing to assessing progress on gender and ICT access and policies in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region.

In 2013 APC joined the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) with the aim of providing strategic advice to the organisation to help it be more effective in reducing internet access costs. A submission was also made to International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on access-related issues in response to the Online Consultation on International Internet-related Public Policy Issues.5

Future work

While the outcomes of these activities will take some time to have an impact on improving access, these efforts are a step forward in influencing access policies, especially in Africa. In 2014 APC is working with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) on a collaborative effort to build awareness of the specific importance of public access among policy makers and regulators.

National infrastructure-sharing policies are a key element for helping to ensure affordable connectivity and APC has begun work to identify best practices in infrastructure-sharing policies. The research will draw on case studies from ten developing countries and will be followed up with regional workshops for regulators in three African regions (South, Central and West Africa).


Open spectrum and digital migration for affordable access to the internet in Africa

In 2013 APC conducted a major project to build awareness and understanding of the analogue-to-digital television migration process in Cameroon. Working with APC member PROTEGE QV, this involved detailed on-site research and in-country public consultations to develop inputs to the country’s national strategy for digital migration. A detailed 100-page guide for the government of Cameroon on digital migration was produced6 along with an advocacy paper for internal circulation within the World Bank, which was used for their public briefing on the topic.7
APC also funded and supported local NGOs in Mozambique, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria to hold national digital migration awareness-raising workshops and develop national awareness-raising plans. APC prepared the briefing materials, a workshop facilitator, a website with news and links to relevant documents, and a guideline agenda for these national meetings.

To expand awareness raising on access issues in the region, APC held a half-day workshop on access at the 2013 African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) in Nairobi, which included coverage of radio spectrum management and digital migration.

Future work

Digital migration is proving to be a difficult process in many developing countries and it is estimated that in Africa alone 50 countries will likely miss the ITU-agreed June 2015 switch-off date for analogue services. In Kenya the digital migration process has been stalled by extended court battles between the regulator and consumer groups, and even South Africa, with its substantial resources, is years behind. APC is planning to continue to support debate on these issues and awareness raising around digital migration and related spectrum issues.


Better broadband through innovative radio spectrum use

 Mike JensenTV white space antenna transmitting broadband to local schools in Cape Town as part of the South African TVWS trial. Photo: Mike JensenNew opportunities have emerged to provide wireless broadband with the unused spectrum in the television wavebands – known as TV white space (TVWS) – and this does not require waiting for the digital switchover. Most of the spectrum allocated to television remains unused in developing countries (as well as in rural areas in developed countries), and the low-frequency characteristics of these wavebands are ideal for long-distance non-line-of-sight links.

To promote the potential of TVWS, APC participated in two regional and two international advocacy and learning events on TVWS in 2013. APC co-organised a TVWS Forum in Dakar which attracted attendees from 35 countries, including at least six representatives from African regulators and national policy makers.8 APC also participated in the LAC regional workshops on digitalisation of TV and freedom of expression organised by the OSF and OAS to discuss standards for migration to digital TV in the region. We also presented our research and policy recommendations at the West African IGF and at the global IGF in Bali.

In addition, field trips were conducted by APC to gather information from TVWS trials in Cape Town and Nanyuki (Kenya), and APC staff member Mike Jensen wrote a chapter for the book “TV white spaces: A pragmatic approach”, edited by Ermanno Pietrosemoli from our member organisation EsLaRed with support from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.

Future work

APC is continuing to build awareness of access technology alternatives, and is planning to implement a TVWS connectivity project for schools in 2014, and support a global workshop on locally owned community networks.


Raising awareness of the internet’s impact on human rights

Graffiti of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning found in Norway. Photo remix of svennevenn original.Graffiti of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning found in Norway. Photo remix of svennevenn original.2013 marked the beginning of a new era for securing and defending internet rights. Revelations of mass surveillance, the abusive treatment of whistle-blowers, expanding forms of violence against women online and increased content blocking all contributed to a new dawning of awareness, even among those familiar with internet rights, about threats to human rights online.

APC is expanding its work in internet rights policy and governance to include sexual rights, women’s rights and economic, social and cultural rights.

APC’s project EROTICS: Sex, rights and the internet launched a global monitoring survey in eight languages to explore the impact of the internet on the work of sexual rights activists.9 The findings provide evidence for advocacy and were used to raise awareness at the global Internet Governance Forum 2013 about the impact of the internet on women and sexual rights defenders. The IGF Chair’s Summary specifically references sexual rights activists and gender equality.10

We raised awareness about the complex impact of the internet on women’s human rights with the 2013 edition of Global Information Society Watch: Women’s rights, gender and ICTs.11 The seventh edition of GISWatch demonstrates that significant gender gaps exist in access to the internet in many countries, while an increase of protectionist internet filtering restricts access to basic sexual health information. Country reports reflect that while the internet has been a space for political engagement and accountability in some countries, invasions of privacy, cyber stalking, threats and violence against women online are increasingly common.

Future work

APC will continue expanding awareness of the impact of the internet in the areas of economic, social and cultural rights through new research from the global South on access to knowledge and the right to culture and increased advocacy by sexual rights activists. Along with the whole APC network, we will work towards a revised APC Internet Rights Charter.

As well, we will develop new regional strategies for increasing awareness of human rights on the internet through projects in Malaysia, Pakistan and India and in the Maghreb-Mashreq and Latin America regions.


Moving the debate towards internet intermediary responsibility

We carried out research in the Africa region on internet intermediary liability, exploring practical and policy issues in Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa12 and Kenya. We worked with APC partner Paradigm Initiative Nigeria to host an in-country workshop and collated information on best practice for regulatory proposals in the African context.

Future work

APC published research on internet intermediary liability policy and trends in the Africa region.13 In light of this, we will be developing evidence-based policy proposals in the future.


Building an inclusive internet freedom movement

 UN Geneva.View of the 24th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Photo: UN Geneva.APC facilitated new collaborations between activists from the global North and South to combat threats to internet freedom. Through the steering committee of Best Bits, a group that focuses on building bridges between activists from the global South and North, we raised issues of economic, social and cultural rights at a two-day side event of the 2013 IGF. Outcomes include a joint letter from non-US citizens to the US Congress on the impact of mass surveillance on those from developing countries, two statements to the UN Human Rights Council on the same issue,14 an expert group statement15 and a Best Bits statement to the ITU and World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF) on the importance of multi-stakeholderism, openness, transparency, accountability and access for people with disabilities.16

APC joined the 13 Principles Network, which advocates for states’ adoption of “International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance.”[] In September, at the 24th session of the Human Rights Council, APC and the 13 Principles Network issued written and oral statements to Council members and to facilitate participation of groups from the global North and South.

Together with Access Now, APC produced the first in a planned series of “Internet Rights Briefings”17 to engage more activists from internet rights communities in the HRC.

APC was invited to engage with the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mr Mutuma Ruteere. We worked with members and partners to facilitate expert inputs for the Special Rapporteur’s annual report, which focused on racism and the internet.

APC joined the Executive Committee of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRDIC). Our participation has brought internet rights issues within the WHRD networks, in particular deeper engagement with digital security among the members of the network [].

APC’s contribution to the Web We Want campaign focused on bringing developing country perspectives informed by our networks and members, development of campaign concepts, participation on the Advisory Committee and supporting the roll-out of a small grants programme. In December 2013, APC co-organised a workshop at ICTD2013 with the Web We Want campaign, entitled “ICT4D and Online Freedoms: Competing Paradigms or Converging Agendas?”

Future work

In 2014, APC will host a Global Meeting on Gender, Sexuality and the Internet, bringing together diverse communities within the internet rights and sexual rights movements to develop an evolving set of feminist principles for the internet.

We will continue contributing to a greater understanding of racism online and best practice in policy responses, through the work of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

We expect dividends from our work to engage activists from the global North and South in internet freedom issues in United Nations human rights mechanisms, including a special session on privacy in the digital age and working with the Sexual Rights Initiative on sexual rights and the internet.


Human rights defenders identify and respond to risks online

Our experience in 2013 showed that there is an increasing demand for both digital security training and internet rights curriculum training as the internet is used more frequently for advocacy and activism, which creates risks for human rights activists.

APC focused on rolling out its Internet Rights Are Human Rights (IRHR) curriculum in 2013. Our aim was to strengthen the capacity of human rights organisations and human rights defenders’ advocacy for internet rights and freedoms. The curriculum is available online and has been used at the global IGF in Bali, at a workshop with Hivos on internet governance in the MENA region, at APC’s African Internet Governance School, and at the London School of Economics.

Working with partners, including Point of View in India, Front Line Defenders and the Tactical Technology Collective, APC provided introductory training in online security and privacy with sexual rights activists in India, and trained women’s human rights defenders from various countries as trainers on digital security. APC contributed to the development of a digital security section for the “Online Urgent Responses Directory” for the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition18 and contributed resources to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund for an Online Safety Workshop in South Africa for grassroots organisations with low to moderate internet skills.19

APC supported members and partners to respond to diverse threats and violations of internet rights, including new legislation that threatened internet rights through social media criminalisation in Ecuador, the introduction of penalties for cyber sex and cyber libel in the Philippines, Japan’s secret-protection legislation, proposed amendments to the Information and Communication Technology Act in Bangladesh, and two media bills (Law on Media and the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Service) that, if approved, will severely impact Macedonians’ freedom of information and of expression.

We also responded to many violations by supporting APC members and partners in campaigns and actions against internet censorship in Pakistan,20 NSA surveillance in South Korea and the cyber attack on the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (LACWHN).21 In most cases, we have been able to respond by documenting these violations and mobilising support for those under threat.

Future work

To increase participation in internet rights monitoring by civil society groups, APC will publish additional IRHR curriculum materials, including new modules and case studies, and develop a core group of trainers.


Monitoring human rights online

APC released a draft monitoring framework based on the work of Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.22 We proceeded to test the framework and developed an internet freedom index in New Zealand that involved 50 people in New Zealand and at least seven international organisations. We also engaged with the development of standards by the LAC regional Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression.

APC supported Universal Periodic Review (UPR) reports for Nigeria23 and Mexico24 using the Frank La Rue framework in preparation for advocacy at the 24th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC 24). Issues of reprisals against bloggers and journalists were included in the stakeholder summary for Mexico and issues of access to the internet by women were included for Nigeria. We also carried out research for a new book on how the internet and other networking technologies have affected development in Latin America.25

APC contributed to monitoring of internet-related human rights through a global online survey on sexual rights work and the internet, the first of its kind. The survey findings identified risks, threats and restrictions experienced by the respondents, as well as the perpetrators of these actions.

APC’s Internet Rights Monitor, sparked by the Connect Your Rights campaign, publishes briefs and press releases as well as republishing content from members and partners.

Future work

Additionally, APC will focus its regional advocacy strategies on development of its internet rights monitoring framework in Africa, Asia and Latin America by publishing reports from these countries.


Member stories


Fostering good internet governance

Supporting the internet as a public good

APC was been actively involved in the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (WGEC). The WGEC, one of the follow-up mechanisms for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), is a multi-stakeholder body that generates recommendations for enhanced cooperation in internet governance. It is precisely its mandate to draft recommendations that makes it a key process within the internet governance ecosystem.

APC participated in the group through two staff persons who were appointed as members of the group. Besides attending the meetings and shaping the discussions, and as part of our systematic engagement in this space, APC prepared a submission on the future of internet governance in response to WGEC’s questionnaire.26 The APC submission, which has been distributed widely, has specific recommendations in relation to the internet as a public good, for the creation of national multi-stakeholder platforms that facilitate policy discussions, and for strengthening the Internet Governance Forum (more below) as a space where all stakeholders, including governments, can engage.

Transparency, trust and internet freedom

In September 2013, APC delivered the keynote address at an event hosted by the Council of Europe called “Transparency to protect Internet freedom: A shared commitment to multi-stakeholder dialogue on enhanced cooperation for informed decision making”. APC emphasised transparency as a means to achieve true democracy, and the need to rebuild trust in an age of mass surveillance and repression of whistle-blowers. Our aim is to re-frame transparency to gain clearer shared understanding among stakeholders of what transparency means, and how to monitor and measure it.


Names and numbers: Promoting diversity in internet domain names

APC works within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organisation that coordinates the internet’s domain name system, as a member of the Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC).

APC believes NCUC is a diverse and vibrant space that gathers civil society voices in ICANN to influence its policy making. In 2013 we supported policy workshops on cultural issues (specifically on new generic top-level domains such as .patagonia), as well as on civil society representation in ICANN. APC staff, members and affiliates also participated in NCUC throughout the year, both in the development of policy positions and hosting of events, to bring perspectives from developing countries.

Future work

 APCAPC gathers human rights defenders and activists from around the world to participate in a variety of events. Photo: APCIn 2014 and 2015 APC will focus on the cultural implications of domain names of special interest, especially geographical names, as part of its new work in economic, social and cultural internet rights.


Towards a more inclusive information society

APC monitored and participated in key processes and consistently presented recommendations towards ensuring diverse participation of civil society, as well as promoting a rights-based, development-centred approach to internet governance. The World Summit on the Information Society ten-year review process, known as WSIS+10, was one of these key processes. We focused our interventions on identifying the priorities and challenges for civil society in the development of the information and knowledge-sharing society in the next ten years, especially the challenges for meaningful participation by countries from the global South. To inform our participation we conducted research which resulted in the multilingual publication “Communication rights ten years after the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS): Civil society perceptions”,27 which we also submitted as a formal input for the WSIS+10 process.28

In our official submission to the WSIS +10 High-Level Event29 we identified the following key challenges for the development of the information society:

  • Ensuring continued extension of access for all to ICTs, particularly access to broadband in developing countries and among marginalised communities in all countries.
  • Recognising that the information society is primarily a matter of human development rather than technological development and broadening the range of people and communities that benefit from ICTs.
  • Maintenance of the openness and multi-stakeholder character of ICT and of internet standards, development and governance, within a framework which also protects the internet against disruption by criminal or malign activity.
  • Meeting real and expressed needs.
  • Protection and reinforcement of human rights, particularly privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association, in a rapidly changing context, ensuring equal respect for and enforcement of human rights online and offline.
  • Environmental sustainability, and addressing the harmful outcomes of the massive increases we will see in ICT production and consumption.
  • Reaching consensus on how to govern and regulate (or not) the internet and internet-related activity.


Capacity building for civil society in internet governance

 APCParticipants and trainers in the first African Internet Governance School. Photo: APCA total of 35 participants from 15 African countries attended the first African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) in July in Durban, South Africa,30 organised by APC and the NEPAD e-Africa Programme. Trainees returned to their countries committed to translate the ever-changing and evolving world of internet governance into a language meaningful to their constituencies: colleagues in the parliament or regulatory agency, media organisations, academic centres, NGOs. The school familiarised trainees with topics such as the history of the internet, international processes in internet governance, the importance of names and numbers, the balance between privacy and security and other topics related to the rules and principles that govern the internet.

Melaku Girma, a participant from Ethiopia, summarised the impact of the school: “The first AfriSIG took place at a time when Africans are increasingly standing together to proclaim the renaissance of their economic, social, cultural and political arenas. I want to express my heartfelt appreciation and respect for the AfriSIG organisers, APC and NEPAD, and the attendees. Let’s keep the school running every year in Africa.”

Ephraim Percy Kenyanito, an alumnus from Kenya, told APC a few months after the event: “What I’ve learned at the school has changed my approach to my work/volunteer activities. At my law school, I am now undertaking research on internet intermediary liability and cyber security, which I intend to submit for publication in peer-review journals. I have also been blogging about IG issues due to the interest cultivated at the school.”

In March, APC also provided training in a regional internet governance workshop in the Middle East and North Africa, organised by Hivos in Tunis. There, APC presented opportunities for civil society engagement in internet governance and public policy processes.31 We also contributed to the Hivos online capacity-building programme, in partnership with Diplo Foundation, using APC’s Internet Rights Are Human Rights training curriculum.

Future work

We will continue with our support for the African School on Internet Governance. Its second edition will take place in Accra, Ghana, in the second half of 2014. This new edition will aim at strengthening understanding of internet governance processes, and providing a multi-stakeholder space for interaction and critical debate on internet governance issues from an African perspective.


Giving women’s rights a voice at the Internet Governance Forum

APC has been committed to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) since its first edition in 2006, as well as to regional, sub-regional and national iterations. We believe that the IGF is the most long-running, large-scale and successful experiment in multi-stakeholder internet policy debate and dialogue, and we have devoted our efforts to facilitating and promoting civil society participation, especially from the global South. APC has also supported the participation of specific actors who would otherwise have been excluded. This was the case of Indonesian sexual rights activists at the 2013 global IGF in Bali, who brought their local advocacy to the forum and were key in raising gender and women’s issues in various panels, as well as other women’s rights activists from Bosnia, India, Kenya and the Philippines.

Thanks to our strategy, there were significantly more gender and internet governance advocates at the 2013 IGF. It also signaled more diverse and engaged voices in different spaces of the IGF, including at the Gender Dynamic Coalition meeting, where there was positive feedback from the sharing of the 2012 gender report card produced by APC. The analysis of this tool for reporting on women’s participation at the IGF demonstrated that there was not a great deal of gender disparity in attendance (there were a fairly high number of women present at all sessions), but that this did not translate into integration of women’s rights or gendered perspectives into the sessions.

Future work

APC and partners are looking into bringing together diverse communities within the internet rights and sexual rights movements to develop an evolving set of feminist principles for the internet and for its governance.


Public interest in internet governance: A rights-centred, regional approach

 Analía LavinAPC’s Valeria Betancourt presents at the IGF in Bali. Photo: Analía LavinAPC consistently and actively participated in the global IGF’s main organising body, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, through our Executive Director Anriette Esterhuysen. This resulted in concrete opportunities for influencing the preparatory process and the agenda, and more specifically in APC organising the main session on human rights at the IGF 2013 in Bali, the first main session in IGF history that addressed internet governance matters from a rights perspective.32

Bali was also an opportunity to build the capacity of civil society activists in internet rights, where we tested our “Internet rights and human rights” training curriculum. We built on a similar experience from a pre-event to the Latin America and the Caribbean IGF, organised in August with partners from the region. This event resulted in identification of the key internet rights challenges that the region faces, highlighted the internet governance dimension of these challenges, and facilitated the exchange of civil society initiatives and projects in the region.

During 2013, APC was involved in six sub-regional and regional IGFs as organisers, strong supporters or presenters. In most of these regional forums, APC staff and members contributed to the agenda setting and ensured diversity of participation in these events.

At the African IGF we focused our advocacy on building a roadmap for sustainable, inclusive internet and ICT policy processes in Africa.33 At a pre-event co-organised with the NEPAD e-Africa Programme and the Centre for Democracy and Technology, we discussed multi-stakeholder governance models and participatory policy development processes at national and regional levels. Integrating access to information, public participation, and transparency in ICT policy processes emerged as a key recommendation.

Future work

We are looking forward to the IGF 2014, to be held in Istanbul in September. We think it should be used as a platform to build on the outcomes and recommendations from other internet governance-related processes, such as the CSTD WGEC and NETmundial. This will contribute to its strengthening as a space for open public debate, consultation and discussion with the broader internet governance community.

We will be closely monitoring the increasing censorship and filtering of content and expression online in Turkey, the host country.

Together with other organisations and coalitions, we will support national multi-stakeholder processes to create internet rights-based frameworks for national contexts.


Close monitoring of the NETmundial process

Towards the end of 2013, APC closely monitored proposals for the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NETmundial) to be held in Brazil in 2014, and actively participated in discussions about it during and after the IGF in Bali. APC wrote an open letter to the organisers of the Brazil summit, originally the government of Brazil and ICANN, calling for transparency and strong involvement of civil society.34

Future work

After NETmundial, there is a pressing need for governments to heed the call to review all collection, processing and surveillance of personal data to ensure that these processes comply with human rights standards. In order to inform this process, our next issue of Global Information Society Watch will focus on the relationship between surveillance, human rights and internet governance.


Towards a human-rights based information society in Latin America and the Caribbean

At the LAC Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society, a process facilitated by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, APC helped incorporate human rights language into the governmental declaration. The final documents reaffirms the parties’ commitment “to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society based on human rights and on the principles of peace, solidarity, inclusion, freedom, democracy, sustainable development and cooperation.”


Member stories


Strengthening use and development of transformative technology

Migrating the APC network to FLOSS

APC installed and configured free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) tools and trained its staff in the use of CiviCRM (a contact database), OpenID (to manage logins to APC sites), (an alternative to Skype) and OwnCloud (an alternative to Dropbox).

Future work

We will be organising a global event in 2014 aimed at bringing technology and human rights organisations together to find open and sustainable alternatives to commercial and mainstream platforms like Facebook and Google, which compromise security and privacy rights.


Maghreb-Mashreq human rights defenders receive secure online communications training

APC along with member organisation Alternatives and technology organisation are building a culture of online human rights and digital security among human rights defenders in the Maghreb-Mashreq region (see also).35

Future work

In 2014, APC and the project partners will deliver digital security training for women’s human rights defenders.


Popular education in digital security for civil society

 APC2013 IGF participants attend evening pre-event in Bali on security tools, practices and experiences. Photo: APCIn early 2013, APC produced an issue paper in English, Spanish and French that “introduces some important conceptual issues in cyber security, investigates some important cyber security threats, and provides suggestions on what a civil society approach to cyber security should look like.”36

APC and the Tactical Technology Collective co-organised an event called “Disco-tech”at the IGF 2013 in Bali to bring security tools and practices to participants in a relaxed environment. A small number of speakers gave short presentations over the course of the evening, which allowed for rich discussion and even mini-trainings while snacks and drinks were served. A key-signing party enabled 20 participants to download, learn about and implement PGP encryption.

APC member and partner OneWorldSEE adapted the event for the Take Back the Tech in Sarajevo in November 2013.

Future work

The success of the event lends itself to becoming an IGF tradition. Another Disco-tech is planned for the 2014 IGF in Istanbul. We also encourage the adoption and adaptation of Disco-techs in other contexts, such as the one in Sarajevo.


APC network migrates to green hosting facility

APC member GreenNet, which hosts a significant portion of APC’s network, migrated its servers to a green hosting facility in London in 2013. This means that dozens of organisations and thousands of people are now served by a green host.

Convergences spark network adoption of FLOSS

APC participated in at least three events in 2013 where transformative technology was the main theme. Two APC staff members participated in AdaCamp in San Francisco, which brought women together to build community, discuss issues that women have in common across open technology and culture fields, and find ways to address them. One of APC’s systems administrators attended CiviCon to share knowledge at this annual international meeting of CiviCRM users, implementers and developers. In December, APC contributed to the Open Development Camp in Amsterdam, which focused on the exchange of ideas and best practices as well as the development of new paradigms, technologies and services in “open development”.

Future work

Several APC members, led by May First/People Link and GreenNet, are organising a convergence of their own. APC’s member learning and exchange fund will support a technical exchange on distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which disproportionately affect civil society organisations hosted with independent providers.


Member stories


Ending technology-based violence against women and girls

Articulating technology-related violence against women

While there has been growing awareness of how technology impacts violence against women, there has been very little corresponding recognition of these issues by states, intergovernmental institutions and other actors responsible for ending violence against women. Consequently, the negative impacts of ICTs have not been prioritised in prevention and response strategies, budgeting and evidence-based policy making, and women who experience tech-related violence have little or no redress. Advocacy by APC in 2013 made progress in shifting the conversation about violence against women online and directly contributed towards greater recognition of technology-related VAW in global policy spaces.


Making history: UN addresses violence against women online

APC presented expert recommendations to the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice in January 2013 in Geneva, focusing on the impact of ICTs on violence against women. The meeting report identified technology-related violence as an inhibitor to women’s public participation and specifically called on states to pay attention to women’s rights in internet governance. These recommendations were included in the first thematic report of the Working Group to the Human Rights Council at its 23rd session.

A second major achievement came just two months later, when APC successfully lobbied for the adoption of a paragraph addressing VAW and information and communication technologies, specifically mentioning the need to promote technology as a means for women’s empowerment and to prevent and combat technology-related forms of VAW, at the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).37 Paragraph (ww) section B of the final agreed conclusions, “Addressing structural and underlying causes and risk factors so as to prevent violence against women and girls”, states:

Support the development and use of ICT and social media as a resource for the empowerment of women and girls, including access to information on the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls; and develop mechanisms to combat the use of ICT and social media to perpetrate violence against women and girls, including the criminal misuse of ICT for sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, child pornography and trafficking in women and girls, and emerging forms of violence such as cyber stalking, cyber bullying and privacy violations that compromise women’s and girls’ safety.

This was the first time that this issue had been included in the Commission’s agreed conclusions.

Future work

A digital postcard urges people to follow the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2013 through the hashtag #csw57, and to make their concerns and issues heard. Illustration APCA digital postcard urges people to follow the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2013 through the hashtag #csw57, and to make their concerns and issues heard. Illustration APCWe will influence the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) towards a general recommendation that defines and recognises obligations of states in relation to technology-related forms of violence against women.

APC will publish its groundbreaking research on legal remedies and user policies and best practice standards for private sector companies (such as social media platforms, internet service providers and telecommunications companies) that ensure women’s and girls’ safety and security online. Results will include 25 case studies from seven countries in the global South and a study on the policies of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


Defending women’s human rights

APC participates actively in the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRDIC) Urgent Responses Working Group to enhance awareness of internet rights issues, and particularly digital security, among the 28 member organisations of the network.

Similarly to APC’s victories to influence policy for women’s rights online, APC along with WHRDIC successfully advocated for the online safety of women human rights defenders at the HRC. In particular, issues of digital safety and technology-related VAW were included in the General Assembly resolution on women human rights defenders. Citing the General Assembly Sixty-eighth session, Third Committee Agenda item 69 (b) Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Protecting women human rights defenders:

Aware that information-technology-related violations, abuses and violence against women, including women human rights defenders, such as online harassment, cyberstalking, violation of privacy, censorship and hacking of e-mail accounts, mobile phones and other electronic devices, with a view to discrediting them and/or inciting other violations and abuses against them, are a growing concern and a manifestation of systemic gender-based discrimination, requiring effective responses compliant with human rights,

Calls upon States to exercise due diligence in preventing violations and abuses against women human rights defenders and in combating impunity by ensuring that those responsible for violations and abuses, including gender-based violence, committed by State and non-State actors, online as well as offline, are promptly and impartially brought to justice.


Taking control of technology to end violence against women

 ColnodoActivists painted a mural in their community in Bogota with the theme of ending violence against women. Photo: ColnodoTake Back the Tech! (TBTT) continues to grow, deepening and expanding interactions, reflection and alliances. Most importantly, TBTT’s focus on fun, expression and exploration combined with critical feminist thought around the internet has allowed for an increasingly diverse community of campaigners – male and female, activists and ordinary people – concerned about technology-related VAW, women’s rights, and digital rights.

In 2013, APC conducted two global campaigns that attracted widespread participation among women’s rights organisations, advocates and activists. APC’s TBTT, UN Women and other partners organised #OrangeDay on 25 July to raise global awareness about gender-based violence and the internet.38 At our suggestion, UN Women organised an #OrangeDay tweetup in the Asia time zone, which resulted in the first bilingual #OrangeDay and with a majority of participants outside the United States.

The 25 November to 10 December TBTT campaign focused on drawing the lines between the public and the private, asserting privacy as a fundamental human right and a critical part of preventing and responding to violence against women. During the campaign, we looked at the issue of state surveillance and highlighted the recently passed UN resolution on “The right to privacy in the digital age”.

APC partner-organised TBTT campaigns include campaigns by World Pulse in the United States, Bytes for All in Pakistan and Colnodo in Colombia. In March 2013, Bytes for All, Pakistan received one of five Avon Communications Awards for their local TBTT 2012 campaign during an adjunct event to the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Colnodo’s Take Back The Tech! campaign, ¡Dominemos la Tecnología!, held a variety of online and offline activities that incorporated art, politics, legislation and social entrepreneurship in which 440 people participated offline and more than 5,000 participated online.

Additional highlights from the 2013 campaign in Colombia included:


Future work

In 2014, APC will run a special TBTT campaign in May, June and July calling on private sector actors for greater responsibility in keeping their platforms free of gender-based violence. The TBTT campaign website will undergo considerable changes, repositioning itself as an advocacy vehicle for our work on VAW and technology throughout the year rather than an annual campaign.


Taking on misogyny in social media, and winning

APC’s Take Back the Tech! campaign was asked to be among the first signatories and partners in the #FBrape campaign in May 2013, which highlighted and called on Facebook to take action in response to user complaints about content that is violent against women. It reached out to advertisers whose products show up on violent and sexist Facebook profiles, and their consumers. This campaign heightened debates on freedom of expression and human rights analysis of online VAW. APC provided input to specific recommendations to maintain anonymity, improve gender awareness and VAW training for Facebook support staff, increase transparency in decision making about offensive content reports, and take action when women report direct threats of violence to Facebook representatives.

In response, some advertisers publicly declared their commitment to end abuse and called on Facebook to address VAW complaints. Within a mere 10 days, Facebook met with campaign organisers to address our concerns. It committed to evaluating and updating its policies, guidelines and practices relating to hate speech, improving training for its content moderators, and increasing accountability for creators of misogynist content.

Ending violence: Women’s rights and safety

All seven of APC’s country partners in the “End violence: Women’s rights and safety online” project have positioned themselves in their communities as points of reference and experts in technology-related violence, from helping survivors to document and denounce to training them in how to be safe online, capable of grounding issues of digital safety in a broader framework of analysis of women’s rights and internet rights and governance. Not only are our partner organisations champions of women’s rights and technology, but they are respected internet policy analysts.


Training women human rights defenders in secure online communication and social networking

As part of APC’s secure online communications training work in Mexico, interested women human rights defenders were asked to apply to a four-day secure online communications (SOC) and social networking training for Mexican WHRDs. The training purposefully combined SOC and social networking because learning about security and privacy risks in isolation can make women feel even more vulnerable, rather than empowered, than before they received the training. The two-pronged approach successfully addressed the relationship between online and offline activism.

A grantee of APC’s “End violence: Women’s rights and safety online” project, the Central American Women’s Fund based in Nicaragua, modelled a similar training for 18 women’s labour rights activists organising in the maquila industry in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. For participants, capacity was built in online privacy and security, as well as effective Twitter campaigning.

Future work

APC will produce a toolkit on digital security and technology-related violence against women in conjunction with our ongoing Feminist Technology Exchange workshops and digital security trainings.


Using technology to end violence against women

In partnership with APC members Open Institute and AZUR Développement, we monitored gender-based violence in Cambodia and the Republic of Congo through an open source mapping platform called Ushahidi. The platforms in both countries map gender-based violence in specific geographic areas. In the Republic of Congo we focused on domestic violence and in Cambodia on all types of gender-based violence.

Initially the project was designed to encourage citizens to report directly through the Ushahidi map via computers and mobile phones. However, factors such as uneven and unreliable connectivity, difficulty in accessing computers and smart phones and lack of confidence resulted in a situation where all data was collected and added to the Ushahidi map by the country partners. Therefore citizens, including journalists and bloggers and particularly the National League of Communes39 who assisted in collecting the data, contributed indirectly to the platform. The latter organisation used the map as a resource to track incidents, to visually see the extent of gender-based violence and to access documentation on gender-based policy and legislation in Cambodia. The platform was localised and translated into Khmer in order to make the data and static information accessible to Cambodians. In Cambodia, 379 questionnaires were collected with 319 being visualised on the mapping platform.

In the Republic of Congo, lack of easy access to computers and smart phones, erratic and poor connectivity, and unfamiliarity with the mapping platform meant that citizens viewed rather than added to the map directly. Instead, 83 cases were recorded offline and AZUR staff entered them into the online platform.

Future work

Cases will be actively collected through April 2014. Advocacy from data collected will continue to be used to influence local authorities in the Republic of Congo to commit to setting up a centre where domestic violence survivors can file reports safely and receive health advice.


Member stories


Strengthening APC community networks

A stronger and more engaged network than ever

The APC membership does high-impact, grassroots community work while simultaneously advocating for their communities in high-level policy processes. This is one way the APC network is unique. Through joint political action, capacity building and participation in policy spaces, APC strengthens this unique aspect of our network. Our collective experience and proven success make APC a natural springboard for members’ local actions and policy advocacy.

In 2013, APC’s spaces buzzed with political discussions around many issues dominating ICT policy and internet governance. APC members contributed to developing positions and statements on several important occasions including submissions to key UN processes, a response to the Snowden leaks and APC’s annual IGF assessment. Members also use the network to seek feedback and support for their own statements.

The level of engagement in the network and collaboration on several large projects was also unprecedented. Twenty-two members collaborated on the 2013 Global Information Society Watch report, four members attended the LAC IGF, and five attended the African IGF and regional African IGFs.

In collaboration with three members, APC organised the first ever African School on Internet Governance. Seven members collaborated on UN Human Rights Commission (HRC) Universal Periodic Review submissions in Nigeria,40 Pakistan,41 Mexico,42 Macedonia43 and Canada.44 Two members collaborated with APC at the 24th session of the HRC and seven members were engaged with ICANN.

Future work

APC is streamlining its discussion spaces and facilitation strategies for member collaboration. Combined with growing membership, APC is likely to have more collaboration on policy issues and in other areas, and become even more visible at events and policy spaces.


Researching and learning together

The fruits of APC’s own and other research continue guiding all our work, whether it is free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) promotion, initiatives aimed at improving access to ICTs and connectivity, or our policy advocacy efforts. As in previous years, in 2013 we continued promoting research initiatives across the network, and several APC members were actively involved in research that fed into our policy and other work. Seven members and seven strategic partners were involved in APC’s research initiatives on digital migration, a global survey on sexual rights and the internet45 and legal remedies and corporate user policies for technology-related violence against women.

The APC Member Exchange and Travel Fund (METF)46 was relaunched in September 2013. This fund oriented at promoting learning and sharing in APC received five applications and supported two member trips and one member meeting in Asia. Twelve APC members47 benefited from this support. The fund comes from member dues and it is a resource that is highly valued by members.

APC created or took full advantage of opportunities for member and staff interaction through member meetings in global and regional events, collaborative advocacy activities, participation in networks and staff visits to members. We had three member meetings at WSIS+10, the African IGF and the global IGF to coordinate participation by the APC network in these advocacy events. We also organised a one-day Asia member meeting and came up with a regional network plan. A total of 28 members and seven affiliates worked together in 16 events in the year. In addition, five staff members visited the offices of seven members. This active on-site interaction combined with sustained online engagement kept the APC network strong in 2013.

Future work

The research team working on the project “Holding governments accountable to gender-based violence in the Republic of Congo” will be publishing a booklet on the experiences, findings and recommendations from the project.

Other research activities planned for 2014 include:

  • The publication of findings from research on domestic legal remedies and corporate policies/redress mechanisms conducted as part of the End violence: Women’s rights and safety online (EndVAW) project.
  • Research on the internet and economic, social and cultural rights.
  • Research on internet rights in India, Malaysia and Pakistan.
  • Country studies using the Frank La Rue framework relating to freedom of expression online.


Outreach and capacity building beyond the network

In 2014, particularly through our work with human rights defenders and through capacity-building work around combating violence against women (VAW), we have linked with hundreds of new colleagues who benefit from working with APC and who bring new knowledge and experience to our initiatives. Several of these people have since joined APC formally as individual members (affiliates).

As part of the above-mentioned capacity-building work, 75 women from women’s rights groups were trained in the Republic of Congo, Mexico and the Philippines in using mapping platforms to document gender-based violence and in using social networking platforms and the internet in advocacy to end VAW. APC worked directly with 12 partner organisations48 in four projects that use technology to combat VAW.

Future work

In June 2014, APC will organise a large public event called Take Back The Net! We anticipate that it will generate new collaborative traction in the network around ICTs in the age of surveillance, and that APC will be joined by new member organisations, affiliates and partners that promote and use transformative technologies that are free/libre and sustainable.


Fostering collaboration within the network

2013 has seen a high level of participation of APC members in the network’s activities. Some members were involved in implementing projects such as EndVAW, Digital Migration and Internet Intermediary Liability in their countries, others participated in internet rights and internet governance advocacy activities such as the HRC Universal Periodic Review process and regional/global Internet Governance Forums. More than half of APC members contributed as country authors to the 2013 GISWatch edition. Yet another group of members jointly worked on a team that provided advice and assistance to human rights defenders who approached APC with requests related to their digital security. All together, over two thirds of members were actively involved in APC projects, which is a very high participation rate for any membership-based network.

Future work

In June 2014, APC will hold its 16th member meeting in Barcelona. Our member meetings have proven to generate new collaborative efforts between members. It will be the first meeting where affiliates, or individual members, are present.


Growing our membership

APC implemented two key membership decisions in 2013: recruitment of individual affiliates and a revamp of APC membership criteria and processes. As a result of these changes, we have 12 new individual affiliates and two new organisational members, a marked improvement from past years. Our new members are great additions to the network.

The updated membership criteria led to a more accessible application and approval process for new members. Updated public pages on APC membership are available online and comprehensive FAQs on membership have been developed.

New members:

  • Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment is an organisation formed and nurtured by a team of professionals and social activists from across Kerala, India who share the dream of freedom of knowledge. SPACE promotes the use of FLOSS in academics, governance, for corporate and individual use, and for employment generation. In Kerala, they have been instrumental in the use of ICTs in education, community radio, disability access and have played a significant role in the formulation of the ICT policy of the government of Kerala.


 Derechos DigitalesPhoto: Derechos Digitales

  • Derechos Digitales is an independent, non-profit and non-governmental organisation based in Chile, whose mission is to defend and promote human rights in the digital environment. Derechos Digitales focuses on freedom of expression, access to knowledge, transparency and democracy, privacy and personal data protection, and consumer protection.



Member stories


Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, building the “information commons” and linguistic diversity

APC’s 2013-2016 strategic plan includes three cross-cutting goals that are prioritised in all aspects of our work. APC is an undisputed civil society leader in gender equality and women’s empowerment. All of our publications are licensed under Creative Commons. Much of what we produce is available in English, Spanish and French. A smaller portion of content is localised and disseminated in additional languages.

APC joins international coalition to fight trade agreement

The Fair Deal Coalition was launched in 2013 to raise awareness about an infamous piece of international policy called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the contents of which have been largely kept secret due to its controversial approach to intellectual property. The coalition’s actions in 2013 mobilised many people around the concept of a “fair deal”, one that opens up trade opportunities for TPP member states while avoiding damage to communities’ agencies with stricter copyright protections.


Member stories


Annual report editor: Mallory Knodel, APC communications manager, mallory AT

Every year our Annual Report is produced through the collaborative effort of dozens of people. Our hard work has yet again paid off handsomely. This report is not just an impressive account of our groundbreaking work in 2013, but a reflection of our collective dedication to telling the stories of our impact.

Deep gratitude is owed to APC staff for their contributions: Valeria Betancourt, Anriette Esterhuysen, Mike Jensen, Analía Lavin, Joy Liddicoat, Jan Moolman, Eunice Mwesigwa, Karel Novotný, Maya Sooka, Caroline Tagny and Misty Tanner. Thanks to many more people on the APC team have been instrumental in constructing an effective process for our Annual Report publication cycle after a recent internal evaluation.

We are very pleased with the report’s look, all thanks to the wonderfully creative team at Monocromo. Very special thanks go to Chat Garcia Ramilo for her insightful, big-picture thinking and of course also to Lori Nordstrom. For many years now, Lori has been a crucial part of Annual Report production and this year, we could not have done without her contribution throughout the entire cycle.

APC member organisations contributed some of the most inspiring photographs and content in the report. This year, we are happy to have included stories from the network alongside those of the APC team, rather than in a separate section. This configuration allows for a more accurate portrayal of the way collaborative projects are woven throughout the network. Thank you for your inspiring contributions: Anthony Mugo, Feroz Mehdi, Arturo Bregaglio, Pavel Antonov, Gul Bukhari, Lillian Nalwoga, Sara Rengifo, Avesta Choudhary, Indu Nepal, Lourdes Gonzalez Pietrosemoli, John Dada, Nica Dumlao, Grace Githaiga, Bardhyl Jashari, Florencia Roveri, Carlos Alfonso, Paz Peña, Chim Manavy, Lorena Marino, Avis Momeni, Kenneth Thlaka, Arun Madhavan, Rozi Bakó, Marysela Zamora and Farjana Akter.

Thanks to all of our members, affiliates and partners who contribute to the remarkable impact of the internet on social change around the world.


1 Some states have passed legislation that recognises access to the internet as a human right, e.g. Finland, in 2010 ( Many recognise freedom of expression. At the 20th session of the Human Rights Council, a landmark resolution that recognises that human rights offline also apply online was adopted unanimously. It mentions the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and refers to development, but it singles out freedom of expression and makes no mention of economic, social and cultural rights. See full text at:


2 It is important not to confuse a focus on ICT for development with a “rights-based approach” applied to social and economic rights in internet policy and regulation.

3 “Miss Internet Bali” and women’s participation at the Internet Governance Forum 2013.

4 Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband and Gender. (2013). Doubling Digital Opportunities Enhancing the Inclusion of Women & Girls In the Information Society. Switzerland: UNESCO.

5 APC. (2013). APC Perspectives on the Revision of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). South Africa: APC.

6 Adam, L., Jensen, M., Song, S., & Southwood, R. (2013). Practical Guide for Digital Switchover (DSO) in Cameroon. Johannesburg: APC, Balancing Act and the World Bank.

7 World Bank. (2013). Development, the Digital Divide and the Digital Switchover (DSO): Why the DSO in Africa (really) matters. ICT Policy Note 04.

8 APC. (2013, June 6). New wireless technologies allow internet and broadcasting to coexist on airwaves. APCNews.

9 Sívori, H., & Zilli, B. (2013). Survey on sexual activism, morality, and the internet: Preliminary analysis. Brazil: APC.

10 Pages 16 and 3, respectively: Chair’s Summary IGF 2013 available at:’s%20Summary%20IGF%202013%20Final.Nov1v1.pdf

11 APC. (2014). Global Information Society Watch 2014: Women’s rights, gender and ICTs. South Africa: APC.

12 Comninos, A. (2013). Intermediary liability in South Africa. South Africa: APC.

13 Zingales, N. (2013). Internet intermediary liability: Identifying best practices for Africa. South Africa: APC.

14 Civil Society Statement to the Human Rights Council on the Impact of State Surveillance on Human Rights Addressing the PRISM/NSA Case. and Joint statement on surveillance at the UN Human Rights Council’s 24th session.

15 World Telecommunications/ICT Policy Forum: Informal Expert Group Statement.

16 Civil Society Statement to the ITU Secretary General in preparation for the WTPF.

17 Liddicoat, J., & Brown, D. (2013). Human Rights Council briefing note: 24th Session.


19 The Fund was referred to APC by Google South Africa to invite our participation at the workshop.

20 Ahmad, S. (2013, July 18). Facebook’s secret censorship deal with the Pakistan government – an open letter.

21 APC contributed to a statement circulated to UN special rapporteurs and via social media. See

22 LaRue, F. (2013). Monitoring freedom of expression: The La Rue framework. New Zealand: APC.

23 Fantsuam & Paradigm Initiative. (2013). Joint Submission on Internet-related Human Rights Issues in Nigeria. Abuja: APC.

24 LaNeta. (2013). Joint Submission on Internet-related Human Rights Issues in Mexico. Mexico: APC.

25 Gerard, B., & Perini, F. (Eds.) (2013). Enabling Openness: The future of the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean. Montevideo: IDRC and Fundación Comunica.

26 APC. (2013). Response from APC to the CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation questionnaire.

27 APC. (2013). Communication rights ten years after the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS): Civil society perceptions.

28 The results of this research were presented at the WSIS Forum 2013 in May and in the second physical meeting of the WSIS+10 review process held in December in Geneva. The report is listed by ITU in its website with reports on the implementation of the WSIS outcomes. See:

29 Official submission form #1 on the Outcome Documents of the WSIS+10 High-Level Event 13-17 April 2014, Sharm el-Sheikh, submitted on 30 September 2013.

30 APC. (2013, July 16). First African school on internet governance yields 35 graduates. APCNews.

31 Chango, M. (2013, May 2). APC trains participants in internet rights policy at the Hivos workshop “IG in the MENA Region”. APCNews.

32 APC. (2013). Priorities for the eighth Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Bali, Indonesia, 2013.

33 A document of recommendations on establishing sustainable and effective multi-stakeholder participation in internet and ICT policies in Africa came out of this pre-event.

34 Open letter by APC to the organisers of the International Conference on Global Internet Governance.

35 Project funded by the EU.

36 Comninos, A. (2013). A cyber security agenda for civil society: what is at stake?. Uruguay: APC.

37 APC. (2013). Violence against women and information and communications technology. Statement to the 57th Session of the CSW.

38 A storify summary of the tweetup is available here

39 Communes or sangkats in Khmer are local government units in Cambodia. The National League is the national association of sangkats.

40 Fantsuam, Paradigm Initiative (2013) Op. cit.

41 Response to Pakistan’s submission to the 24th Human Rights Council on the importance of multi-stakeholder Internet Governance.

42 LaNeta (2013) Op. cit.

43 Groome, A. & Finnegan, S. (2013, June) Universal Periodic Review of Macedonia – Joint stakeholder submission. South Africa: APC.

44 Finnegan, S. (2013, September). Civil Society Statement read by APC to the Human Rights Council on Canada UPR report. Switzerland: APC.

45 EROTICS: An exploratory research project into sexuality and the internet.

46 Note the change in fund title.

47 WOUGNET, CIPESA, Voice, Jinbonet, Open Institute, FMA, DEF, BFES, JCAFE, JCA-Net, EngageMedia, Bytes for All.

48 Eight partners in the EndVAW project, two in the EROTICS project, one in the Republic of Congo and one in Cambodia.