Lennart Båge, the acting Director General of Sida, talks about access and power and reminds us of the importance and uniqueness of the forum as a platform for knowledge sharing. It is soon only one month left until Stockholm Internet Forum 2017. Welcome to Stockholm in May and let the discussions begin!
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the SIF17 team is proud to highlight a successful event that took place just recently at the Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi and the Swedish Institute in Stockholm to increase women’s participation on Wikipedia.
The Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi hosted a Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Saturday, March 4 together with two Indian organizations: Feminism in India and Punjabi Wikimedians. The purpose of the event was to increase women’s representation on the world’s most visited online encyclopedia by publishing articles on persons that were hitherto missing. Parallel to this, a similar event took place at the Swedish Institute in Stockholm, in collaboration with Wikimedia Sweden and Geek Girl Meetup. The theme of the Indian-Swedish collaboration was women in science and technology: #IndianWomenInScience.
Wikipedia gets 16 billion visitors each month, making it the 7th most visited website in the world. While it is an indispensable resource, the site also has problems with the issue of representation. There are four times as many entries about men than women. Behind the scene, the gender balance is even worse with only 9% of the editors being female, 1% trans people and the remaining 90% men. The figures for India are even lower. Non-Western and low-skilled editors are also rare.
Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia, has identified this issue as a problem area and work actively for change. One approach to solving the issue is by hosting so called edit-a-thons where volunteers get together to publish articles.
Feminism in India and Punjabi Wikimedians, gathered 25 young volunteers at the Embassy of Sweden for such a wiki-workshop. Among the volunteers were experienced Wikimedians, but the room was mainly filled with first-timers. Japleen Pasricha, founder of Feminism in India, introduced the concept of edit-a-thons and the reasons behind wanting to increase women’s representation online. Satdeep Gill, from Punjabi Wikimedians, explained the do’s and don’ts of Wikipedia-editing for the participants.
The volunteers each chose one or several Indian women in science and technology who were deemed missing from Wikipedia. Afterwards, it was research time, as the participants trawled the internet for news articles, e-books and video clips about “their” scientist. Some even reached out on Twitter.
Thanks to the volunteers in the room, Wikipedia has now been enriched with more than thirty new entries on Indian and Swedish women scientists in four different languages: Malayalam, Punjabi, English and Swedish. Among the Indian women in science and technology who now have brand new Wikipedia-profile are space scientist Anuradha TK, known for heading several of ISRO’s satellite programs, Shawna Pandya, multi-talented doctor and astronaut who also happens to be a taekwondo world champion, Sampa Das, distinguished bio-technologist and one of the leading experts on agricultural biotechnology, and pathologist Poonam Salotra, who carries out important research on infectious diseases and has developed diagnostic tests and vaccines.
After hours of focused work, the volunteers’ attention shifted to a big screen where the Swedish sister event at the Swedish Institute in Stockholm had just started.
The Ambassador of Sweden to India, Mr. Harald Sandberg, hosted a reception in the residence afterwards: “It was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to host this event. We are always looking for new ways of implementing Sweden’s feminist foreign policy and this was a particularly fun and concrete idea.”
See some of the newly created pages below:
This text was written by Marcus Holknekt at the Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi, with editing by SIF.
Relating to year’s theme of “Access and Power” and the occasion of the International Women’s Day, we would like to share with you a very interesting blog post at Equals.org. The author of the article discusses the issue of digital gender gap, why it persist and how we can tackle it.
Read the whole article here and be inspired to continue the fight against gender inequality.
Spring is around the corner and it is today exactly three months left until international experts and participants gathers in Stockholm to analyze and discuss the empowering benefits of Internet accessibility at SIF17.
The final touches on the agenda are being made and we are working effortlessly to create an exciting and interesting agenda as possible. Keep track of this page to see our latest updates. For those of you who are unable to join us in Stockholm in May can follow SIF17 live, here on our webpage, on Facebook and on Twitter.
We hope you are as excited as we are. If you want to support in spreading the word about this year’s event use #sif17.
We are looking forward to see you in Stockholm!
This week we would like to share with you some thoughts and reflections about an open internet by internet rights advocate Walid Al-Saqaf.
Walid Al-Saqaf is an internet rights advocate and postdoctoral researcher at Stockholm University. He is also a member of the Internet Society Board of trustees. He has a passion for promoting a strong and open Internet that citizens can use to promote democratization and free speech.
In this clip we can hear Walid talk about the power of an open and accessible internet and the important fight for everyone’s right to express their opinion freely.
We would like to share an inspiring message from democracy and transparency expert Fletcher Tembo.
Fletcher Tembo is the programme director at Making All Voices Count, an international fund that uses innovation and technology to support effective, accountable governance in multiple countries across Africa and Asia. Fletcher Tembo visited Stockholm in December 2016 to attend a seminar and share his reflections and experiences from the field.
In this clip, Fletcher shares his thoughts and ideas on the most effective ways to increase government transparency and accountability.
Stay tuned for more updates on the program for SIF17.
Throughout the years, many events inspired by the Stockholm Internet Forum have been arranged across the globe. Several Swedish embassies have arranged meetings, lunches and networking events ahead and after the main SIF, and we have also seen spin-off events like the Maputo Internet Forum. Just recently, we received encouraging news about a super successful Myanmar Digital Rights Forum, gathering participants from different sectors to discuss internet freedom in Myanmar.
The Myanmar Digital Rights Forum took place in Yangon on 14-15 December and gathered leaders from a variety of different sectors, including the Myanmar government. The initiative to arrange the forum came from inspired former participants at the Stockholm Internet Forum, and in effect became a Myanmar version of the SIF. The event was the first of its kind in a country that until recently for decades was very isolated from the rest of the world. The Swedish Embassy Section Office in Yangon funded the event.
The inclusion of the government in the discussions on internet freedom is an important and positive change in the right direction. The changing times were also evident by the fact that several speakers and participants were former political prisoners. Myanmar is currently undergoing a transition process towards democracy with its first democratically elected government since the 1950s. However, the democratization process is still ongoing and human rights violations are still occurring widely in the country.
Internet usage has grown explosively in the last years in Myanmar. A few years back, the price for a SIM card was a staggering 2 000 USD, today it costs around 1 USD. In combination with cheap smartphones, this means that a majority of the people for the first time have access to the internet. As discussed at the forum, there is a lack of awareness of digital rights in the country, as well as a lack of digital literacy. A current problem is the spreading of fake news and rumors, and the increasing use of hate speech online. This is a critical problem in a country with a lack of access to information, and existing widespread tension and violence between different groups.
The laws are not keeping up with the huge increase in connectivity, and there is a need for people’s freedom and rights online to be ensured. “Urgent action is needed to make sure that Myanmar people are protected when they are using the internet” said Ei Myat Noe Khin from Phandeeyar, one of the lead organizers of the forum.
One of the laws that particularly poses problems for digital rights and freedom of expression is the Telecommunications law. People are being convicted for stating opinions online that are considered to defame the government and others, but the provisions are considered as broad and vague. There are now calls for this article to being amended.
The Myanmar Digital Rights Forum was a very timely event in the ongoing transition process in Myanmar, and the digital rights movement here is considered to have increased its energy. It is great to know that the Stockholm Internet Forum played a decisive part in this development, and the organizers hope that they can give valuable input from Myanmar to this year’s Stockholm Internet Forum, too!
We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the four organizing partners for their hard work: Phandeeyar Innovation Lab, Myanmar ICT Development Organization (MIDO), Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), and Engage Media.
This text was written by Linnea Cederlund at the Embassy of Sweden, Section office in Yangon with editing by SIF.
We are delighted to announce that internationally renowned feminist and human rights activist Jac sm Kee is a confirmed speaker at SIF17.
Jac sm Kee is a researcher, writer and internet activist heading the Sida supported Association for Progressive Communications (APC’s) Women’s Rights Programme.
Jac was in Stockholm in November to accept the Stieg Larsson award for her struggle for women’s right to a free online environment and for an open and equal information society based on the potential of the internet.
Check out this clip where Jac recorded a message for all participants at SIF17.
Stay tuned for more updates on the program for SIF17.
See the full length video to hear more about Jac sm Kee’s work here.
With almost six months to go, preparations for the Stockholm Internet Forum 2017 are well under way. The detailed programme for the conference is taking shape and a preview will be available soon
The invitation process to SIF17 will be moving ahead throughout the spring. Those of you who are unable to join us in Stockholm in May can follow SIF17 live, here and on Twitter. For the overarching theme of SIF17, please click here.
We are very excited and starting to activate ourselves for SIF17. We would like your support in spreading the word about this year’s event and helping us assemble relevant topics concerning the main theme “Access and Power”. Use #sif17 and follow us on Twitter @fxinternet
Access and Power Theme for Stockholm Internet Forum 2017 (SIF17)
The connections between access and power are the focus for SIF17. The empowering benefits of Internet accessibility will be disseminated and analyzed from an intersectional perspective, targeting political, economic and social aspects of power.
The theme connects to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which recognizes that “the spread of information and communication technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies” Digital development and access to information is key to the realization of the 2030 Agenda that strives to leave no one behind, hence “Leave no one offline” is the slogan for SIF17.
Organised and hosted by Sida, SIF is a unique conference that connects a broad range of people from various parts of society working to use the potential of the Internet to reduce poverty and fight oppression.SIF is committed to equality and diversity and it has successfully gathered participants engaged in digital development and freedom of expression from all over the world since 2012. Around 500 people from 90 mostly low and middle income countries participated in SIF 2015.
SIF participants range from internet activists, members of academia, representatives of companies, organisations and governments, entrepreneurs, digital innovators etc. We receive many testimonies from participants that are able to connect and network with likeminded people across sectors in a way that would have been impossible without this conference.
The number of participants are limited and therefore participation is by invitation only. Those of you who are unable to join us in Stockholm in May can follow SIF17 live here and on Twitter.
Follow us on Twitter @fxinternet