Freedom Forum engaged actively in the two-day Internet Governance Forum held in Kathmandu from 18 August to 19, 2017.

Throughout the mega event, Freedom Forum participated in different sessions as moderators, speakers and active listeners and debater, so that the issues around the internet ecosystem were propelled and the participants agitated to whet discussions.

During the session, “Internet Rights and Freedom of Expression”, on the second day of the IGF, FF Executive Chief Taranath Dahal spoke of the need to augment the use of internet to promote freedom of expression online.

“Internet has played a significant role to promote people’s rights, especially the freedom of expression worldwide. As a developing country, Nepal needs to build infrastructures to ensure the fastest and most convenient medium of exercising the FoE,” he said, adding that Freedom Forum was reviewing the school curricula (from grade 5 to 12) to assess whether Nepal’s formal education has introduced digital/internet literacy.

On the occasion, he reminded the audience about the Freedom of Expression and Information on the Internet in the charter of human rights and principles for the internet issued by the Internet Rights and Principle Coalition as:
a) Freedom of online protest
b) Freedom from censorship
c) Right to Information
d) Freedom of the media
e) Freedom from the hate speech

The session was moderated by Freedom Forum’s Vice-Chair Sahajman Shrestha. He whetted the discussion facilitating on the queries from the audience and the views from the speakers.

Executive Member Santosh Sigdel said due to the lack of sufficient infrastructures, the FoE online was yet to be promoted in Nepal. However multifarious issues around FoE online including online harassment, and arrest of citizens over FoE practice online.

Media Monitoring Officer Narayan Ghimire said time has come for the country to taking timely initiative to narrow down digital divide, otherwise people without digital literacy could be deprived of exercising FoE online. Internet must not be limited as a tool to empower already empowered and a tool of the elites.

Similarly, on the first day of the IGF, Legal Officer at Freedom, Ashmita Pokhrel, was a panelist on the session named, “Initiating a Youth Platform for Internet Governance.”

Ms Pokhrel said the legal protection of youth on internet had been imperative in Nepal too. She also summarized about the laws and policies she was studying at FF. “As the youths are leading group of internet users, their skills and knowledge on the laws governing internet should be enhanced,” she stressed.

A person from the attendance suggested her to study the frauds on online shopping.

Freedom Forum also took part enthusiastically on various sessions, including IPV4 to IPV6: How prepared Nepal is?

Freedom Forum during the IGF stressed the need of open, transparent, secured and safe internet for building good governance.

IGF Nepal-2017 ended with the collective commitment for collaboration among multi-stakeholders for the advancement of internet, expansion of internet accessibility and reaping multiple benefits.