Trailer: Reclaiming the Internet for Democracy

Trailer: Reclaiming the Internet for Democracy


The proliferation of
misinformation online has made
it nearly impossible for people to distinguish
between propaganda and false
news from factual reporting. News media as an institution is absolutely vital to the right
to access to information. Access to information is in
itself a necessary precursor to political participation. As developers, programmers and
designers, we play a very important role to make
online platforms accessible
for everyone. There’s a community that is
fully connected to the internet and there’s a community that is
with zero data but they are, you know, the source
of proliferation of fake news, or misinformation. They want to protect that
narrative in the minds of the people that,
“Oh, these are the people who work against the government.
They have an international
agenda and they want to defame
Pakistan.” That mentality does not come
from civil society. That mentality basically comes
from the other side that
does not want to work with us. Sometimes it’s just a lack of
knowledge they don’t know if we’re going
to pass this law it will have all these
consequences. It’s our role as a civil society
to talk with them and explain it to them all of
these problems and to move
forward. The shutdown that happened in
Cameroon last year cost the country, the economy,
an estimated 4 millon dollars. That’s crazy for a country whose
GDP to debt ratio is increasing by 1% every month. One of the ways that we are
trying to address this is by bringing people together
physically. And saying, “this is a safe
space to have some of these
discussions.” We bring the government
officials, we bring the telcos, we bring human rights activists
in the traditional space, we bring digital rights
activists, you know, everybody
come together researchers, academia, let’s
have a conversation about this. Let’s speak the same language
for a change. All of these big names of
freedom of expression, or access to information,
they really need to mean
something. If the internet is going to give
power only to the already
powerful there isn’t much of a sense of
doing the work that we’re doing. We need to assure that the
internet is a force of power
for vulnerable communities.

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