Capacity building workshop for editors held prior to IGF 2011 in Nairobi
UNESCO’s Office in Nairobi, in cooperation with the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Steering Committee at the Kenya Ministry of Information and Communication, organized a capacity building interactive workshop for editors last month in Nairobi. This activity was held as a preliminary event to the 6th IGF meeting (27-30 September, Nairobi, Kenya) and attracted 30 editors and journalists from media houses across the country.
Discussions at the workshop mainly focused on such important issues related to Internet governance as:
- Mobile Internet: the role played by mobile networks in providing Internet access to citizens, and actions necessary for promoting mobile Internet and enhancing local content development;
- Cyber security and privacy: policies required for increasing co-operation in this area, while advancing innovation, growth and development;
- Cloud computing: explanation of cloud computing and critical issues in determining the pace and level of development of the cloud.
Participants of the workshop also addressed topics like: safeguarding Internet freedom; and preserving linguistic diversity, with a particular focus on the promotion of multilingual cyberspace.
Alice Munyua, Chair of the Kenya IGF Steering Committee, underscored in her presentation the importance of Internet governance for her country. As nearly 10 million Kenyans are accessing Internet largely through mobile phones, there is an urgent need to address the issues like cybercrime, privacy, security, local content generation, freedom of expression and citizens’ rights. She clarified that Internet governance is not only about setting technical standards, but it also deals with commercial, cultural, political and social implications of free flow of information, freedom of expression, freedom of online media and the use of media for political and social expressions, among other issues.
Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Jocelyne Josiah reaffirmed UNESCO’s commitment to safeguard and advocate the principles of freedom of expression, cultural and linguistic diversity and openness in all media governance mechanisms, including Internet governance.
It was highlighted that Kenya is considered to be one the freest African states online. Participants were urged, therefore, to play their role of journalists as Kenya takes up the challenge to increase access and to promote an enabling environment for the sustainable development of Internet.
Following lively and animated discussions on Internet governance, participants expressed appreciation for the tone and caliber of the interventions and their increased capacity for treating the issues in question. As a follow up to this important exercise, it was proposed that UNESCO supports the production of a self-learning training package for the media on Internet governance issues. The Kenya IGF Steering Committee is keen to closely work with UNESCO in realization of the proposed Internet governance training kit.