This year, the Internet Freedom Fellowship was held in Geneva, Switzerland. Ghana was represented by Mac-Jordan Degadjor, a blogger who has been actively reporting on key issues in Ghana since 2006.
During the recently ended happy hour with the Ghana US Embassy, we had a discussion with Mac-Jordan Degadjor via skype. “Happy hour” was organized and moderated by Information resource centre of the US Embassy in collaboration with Mobile Web Ghana.
MacJordan told the participants about the many interesting stories that were shared about how Internet freedom is promoting human rights in countries around the world. He said despite these positive feedbacks, many governments are still trying to restrict freedom of expression and association via the Internet, a typical case being China. The internet freedom Fellowship is an annual event that aims to continue the struggle for freedom of expression, association on the internet and the pursuit of fundamental human rights.
Making the internet free and open means people will be free to express their thoughts on key issues that affect them, people will also have access to websites that provide information they need. People can also create virtual groups and organizations to fight against any human rights violation and degradation within their country and beyond.
During a brief talk session, there was a question about the reliability of information shared on the internet, especially social media. Sedem Ofori of JoyFM spoke about the limitations of social media and how difficult it is to verify the credibility of information shared on the platform, therefore, media houses do not depend on social media to report news but only use it to aggregate public opinion .
There was also a discussion on the question “Who polices the internet?” This was one of the hottest discussions during the event, although it contradicted the essence of Internet freedom. The discussion raised questions about Ghana’s policies on internet usage. A student of Valley View University also raised another interesting question as follows, “How can we know if Ghana’s policies on internet usage restricts our freedoms of expression, association and basic human rights in Ghana and what can we do now to avoid it?” This question is yet to be answered since Ghana is yet to realise the benefits of internet freedom.
The event turned out to be a success plus there was a lot to eat. It was the first time most of us enjoyed Guacamole, a tasty Mexican dish. We enjoyed “Happy Hour” and hope to have some more events like this in the future.