Malawi Internet Governance Forum resuscitated

Malawi Internet Governance Forum resuscitated

Malawi is in the process of resuscitating a multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum to shape and inform national policy on development of the Internet and ICTs in the country.

The forum was launched in July 2014 but has been inactive since its establishment.

A multi-stakeholder group comprising academia, government, media, civil society and IT technocrats met at the Department of E-Government in Lilongwe on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 and among other things, agreed to revive the IGF and ensure that more people are brought on board and made aware of the IGF and its role in influencing policy and providing a platform for dialogue on issues concerning the internet.

Among other key issues, the meeting proposed a multi-stakeholder advisory group, which includes members of the academia, civil society groups from different thematic areas, government, the academia, the media, government, consumer groups and the country’s communications regulator. The meeting also agreed to convene a meeting of the advisory group, develop a strategy paper and a monitoring and implementation framework.

The resuscitation follows a strategy meeting of key stakeholders and MISA Malawi, with support from MISA Zimbabwe and Hivos, convened in October last year, to initiate dialogue on internet governance issues in the country. MISA Malawi also had the opportunity to participate in an internet governance conference in Zimbabwe as well as the Global IGF in Brazil in 2015.

MISA Malawi believes that the experience from the conferences in both Zimbabwe and Brazil will help inform the revival of the Malawi IGF and its operations.

“Revival of the IGF is a positive development for Malawi and it is very timely. This forum will provide space for us to engage on and discuss policy issues concerning the internet and how it should be governed,” MISA Malawi chairperson Thom Khanje said.

As the IGF was being revived, Parliament was discussing a Bill that seeks to regulate the internet. The Bill, that Parliament rejected, seeks to among others regulate online media. Parliament has called for more consultations on the Bill.

MISA Malawi petitioned government that some provisions in the Bill were retrogressive as they were open to abuse and likely to promote extreme self-censorship and fear amongst online users.

MISA Malawi believes the IGF will play a critical role in providing internet governance and policy dialogue space in the country starting with the review of the E-Transactions Bill.

For more information contact MISA Malawi chairperson Thom Khanje on mobile +265 888879 329 or e-mail: thomkhanje@yahoo.com or MISA Malawi National Director Aubrey Chikungwa on mobile +265999327311 or email info@misamalawi.org

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