By: Baisanie J. Macabuat
COTABATO City (April 11, 2015) – More than 600 attendees from over 50 countries participated in the first ever RightsCon in Southeast Asia conducted at Crown Plaza Hotel, Ortigas, Manila last March 24-25, 2015.
“This international conference discussed issues around technology and human rights were focused more on regional and global internet Rights issues that are undoubtedly recognized to be of critical importance – like data protection, privacy, freedom of expression, infrastructure development, surveillance, internet governance, etc.,” Melia Ukom, Chief of the Committee on Campaign and Advocacy of the UNYPAD Women Affairs Committee (WAC), said.
Melia disclosed that the participants were coming from different government agencies, local and international non-government organizations (CSO’s), and academe.
“All of them are committed to extending digital rights of users around the world, and fighting for the open internet,” she said.
Through the facilitation of the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), the UNYPAD was invited to participate, and it sent two representatives from the WAC.
Saada Sampayan, Vice Chair for Internal Affairs of the WAC, said that the FMA’s mission is to Advance Human Rights in National and Global Internet Policy spaces.
“FMA co-organized the said conference in collaboration with Access and Engage Media, both are International Organizations,” Saada disclosed.
“Advocacy becomes more effective when it is data-based rather than opinion-based,” Brett Solomon, Co-Founder and Executive Director, ACCESS, stressed.
Richard Stallman, Founder of GNU Project and Free Software Foundation, explained that no accident that proprietary software is so often malware.
“Together with the Internet Society Philippines, FMA organized a “Multi-stakeholder Forum on Internet Governance, Human Rights and Development on 23 March 2015, a day before the RightsCon,” said Melia.
Saada said that the organization who sponsored the RightsCon were the Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Access, Mozilla, FordFoundation, World- wide Foundation, ICANN, Smart, APNIC, GitHub, Internet Society, Microsoft, Linked in, Hivos, Media Democracy fund, OAK foundation and The Fund for Global Human Rights.
This forum is a space for stakeholders all over the Philippine netizens, private sectors, government officials, civil society organizations, the tech community, bloggers, academics, journalists, lawyers, activists to come together and start to build general consensus on what the future of the internet should be, as it approaches the 21st anniversary of #PHInternet.