The conference aims to be a forum for discussions on a free, open and secure internet that promotes human rights and development worldwide. As mentioned, this years SIF theme is access seen from a multi-dimensional approach.
Access to the internet plays an important role in the economic, social, cultural and political development of societies and nations. There are still huge differences – both in terms of access and usage – between those who have, and those who do not have access to the internet, between countries and regions, between rich and poor, and between men and women. But access is often not what it seems, and simply having access to the internet does not necessarily achieve social justice and development outcomes. To help us understand access from a multi-dimensional perspective SIF15 will use gender as a lens that can enable us to see beneath the surface.
What does access to the internet mean? Who has access to the internet? Who has the ability to assimilate the information available online? These are some areas which will be discussed during SIF15.
The aspects of access will be covered through discussions of issues related to economy, technology, policy and human rights – with a special emphasis on gender equality.
The Forum aims to bring together policymakers, civil society representatives, activists, business representatives and technical community representatives. SIF has a standing tradition of focusing on the Global South and half of the participants come from low-and middle-income countries, often from places where internet access is restricted and efforts to promote both internet freedom and human rights can be dangerous.