The Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, will tomorrow, launch Ghana’s Digital Inclusion Statement at the 8th Annual Freedom Online Conference, at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra.
The two-day multi-stakeholder conference, to be held under the theme “Achieving a common vision for internet freedom” would gather 300 key actors from the current 31 member countries to brainstorm on how among all stakeholders including governments, civil society, the private sector, and others share relevant information, develop joint strategies and combine efforts towards their mutual goal of a human rights based internet.
Established in 2011 in The Hague, Netherlands at the initiative of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, the conference would have participants renewing their commitments and pathways towards a rights-respecting framework for internet freedom through achieving certain key goals.
It would further take stock of the Coalition’s achievements including shaping global norms with respect to decisions that are taken at the United Nations, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) among others, so that human rights issues are effectively integrated into the set up.
Speaking at the media briefing ahead of the conference in Accra yesterday, the National Cyber Security Advisor, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako said, the conference would also focus on key thematic areas including safeguarding elections in West Africa, the role of human rights in artificial intelligence, content moderation trends and challenges, child online protection, online misinformation as well as digital safety of human rights defenders.
He noted that since Ghana assumed the Chair of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), she had been co-developing the statement with Germany to help inform the current discussion and dialogue for decision, laws and norms to be established all in a bid to impact on digital rights.
“Ghana has realised the need for expanding access as a means of achieving human rights for its citizens and unlike other countries where cyber security issues has been used unjustifiably to sometimes curtail citizen’s digital freedom, Ghana has taken a different course which has seen her play it safe in infringing on the human rights of the citizenry when it comes to the issue,” he said.
According to him, the fundamental thing was that the citizenry needed to be protected because cyber security was key and should be done in a human right centered way, saying that is what Ghana had achieved in the yet to be launched policy.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako further stated that under the leadership of the Communication Minister a number of strategic initiatives had been instituted to further credentials on the international level, the ratification of the Budapest and Malabo conventions, the introduction of the National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy and the drafting of the cyber security bill which was currently in draft has given Ghana the lead as a cyber security leader with the sub-region.
“Ghana has further collaborated with other FOC members to develop a human-right friendly toolkit to support countries with the determination to promote digital rights/online freedom to deal with cybercrime issues and potential abuse of the internet,” he stated.
Charles Bradley congratulated Ghana for her lead role in helping with the rights to democratise the digital space of the citizenry.
BY RAYMOND AKUMEY