Access. Rights. A Feminist Internet. Governance. Use and Development. Community. (Or FAIR and GUD-C, as I affectionately acronymised them for myself.) These are the pillars of APC’s strategic plan. These are the areas on which APC focused most intensely as it went about its work this year, of ensuring a free and open internet and a world that is more just, more equal. In every possible way.

But there’s one key letter missing from this big picture – T. This was a year of Transitioning. This was a hugely significant moment of transition for APC as its leadership changed hands.

I want to begin this introduction by doing two things. On behalf of our member network, I profusely and lovingly thank Anriette Esterhuysen, who stepped down as executive director this year, after growing APC from its modest roots to a global force that is loved, admired and respected. And on behalf of all of us, I open our collective arms to Chat Garcia Ramilo, APC’s new executive director, and give her a big, welcoming hug. May the force be with you, Chat!

I became the chair of the APC board halfway through the year at the global APC members’ meeting held in Ithala, South Africa, in August. Why did I run for the board elections? Mainly out of a sense of deep identification with APC. My work at Point of View, the non-profit I run in India, straddles three domains – gender, sexuality, technology – and I’m part of many movements. And part of the cracks and spaces in between these movements, always trying to connect the dots, just like APC does at the global level.

So much meaning derives from APC’s work at these intersections. When APC works on Access, it’s both about connecting the unconnected, and about visibilising the digital gender divide and the causes of women’s rights violations. It’s not either/or. It’s both.APC’s work on Rights is framed the same way: as a spectrum of rights, which means that a successful APC policy push is not just a win for digital rights – it’s often a win for women’s rights, as gender issues are made visible in policy spaces. Be it at the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, the Human Rights Council, or while developing Internet Universality Indicators. When APC talks of free expression, it’s a big, rainbow-coloured umbrella… that includes sexual expression as political speech. Like any other speech. And of course, without access, free expression and rights, how can we even conceive of building a Feminist Internet?

This intersectional lens was in full view in APC’s work on Governance this year, right from initiatives to build civil society capacities to participate in internet governance to the Internet Governance Forum itself. It was also in Use and Development, which enabled hundreds of activists all around the world to tell their stories digitally… and to remain digitally secure.

An organisation does not survive and grow for 25+ years without a lot of help, and a network does not thrive and flourish without growing membership. The APC Community has grown steadily over the years; at the end of 2017, we were 58 organisational members and 28 individual members active in 74 countries. And we’re still growing…

In closing this edition, I want to thank APC’s founders, staff, consultants, members and everyone else who has been or is part of APC, or who has supported our work in one way or another. Let’s continue changing the world… together.

Bishakha Datta
Chair of the APC Board of Directors

APC’s internal management transition in 2017 turned out to be a very smooth process thanks to the commitment from both our outgoing director, Anriette Esterhuysen, and our incoming director, Chat Garcia Ramilo.

These changes in the management of APC brought new approaches to the leadership of our programmes and new visions that will help us to continue being a vibrant organisation, one that is very well recognised globally for enabling people to access a free and open internet, improving their lives and creating a fairer world, as our mission states.

Throughout the year we were looking back to our roots, when most of our members focused on providing access to the internet to activists and organisations working for development, given that 50% of the world’s population is still not connected and most of them live in developing countries and in rural areas. This situation has led us to make a greater effort to put forward new initiatives to connect these communities by providing new solutions based on free and open source software and hardware that nowadays can provide a new opportunity to bring connectivity at an affordable cost.

APC members have been working for a very long time with grassroots organisations and we know first-hand about their difficulties in attaining reliable and affordable internet connections. They have been waiting for a long time to get connected by traditional commercial providers, which are denying them this access, arguing that it is not economically feasible to implement the infrastructure needed, especially in rural areas.

Deploying community networks is a new alternative for these communities that are still unconnected or underconnected. Experiences from APC members that have been implementing different models of community networks, like Rhizomatica in Mexico, Pangea in Catalonia, AlterMundi in Argentina and Zenzeleni in South Africa, are inspirational models where the communities operate their own networks and provide connectivity to themselves. They have both inspired and supported us in bringing these alternatives to other countries like Colombia, where my organisation, Colnodo, is replicating them in different scenarios in rural areas.These initiatives have raised new challenges, especially in relation to guaranteeing access to spectrum in order to carry out the deployment of these community networks. This is especially important for initiatives such as cellular community networks, where the spectrum is usually assigned to telecommunications companies that maintain a monopoly on communications without leaving space for these alternatives.

The work of APC and its members in this field has initiated high-level discussions to ensure that global policies recognise these initiatives as viable and reliable solutions to connect these communities.

Having APC as a platform to influence access-related policies is essential for connecting these communities and for other APC programmes to have a greater impact in these communities, which historically have been denied the benefits of connectivity.

Great challenges await us, but it is very satisfying for me to see the evolution of our organisation and network adapting to new challenges and continuing to work on providing people with a free and open internet for all.

Julián Casasbuenas G.
Former Chair of the APC Board of Directors from 2014 to 2017

2017 was a year of transition in APC. When APC’s former executive director Anriette Esterhuysen told APC’s management team that she was resigning, we couldn’t quite believe it. Over the last 16 years, Anriette had been the heart of APC, and it was difficult to imagine APC without her.

Anriette first joined APC when the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT) – where she was executive director – became an APC member organisation in 1993. She was elected to APC’s board of directors as a representative of SANGONeT in 1997.

When Anriette was first appointed as APC’s executive director in 2000, there were five staff members. By 2017, we had 37 staff members living in 17 countries. In 2000, APC had 22 members organisations; in 2017, we had 58 organisational members active in 61 countries. On behalf of the APC staff, I’d like to thank Anriette for her leadership in shaping APC into the respected and influential global organisation and network that it is today.

Since I took over as executive director of APC, I have often been asked how I am finding this new position. Leadership change in any organisation creates uncertainty, so I focused my attention on two things that I felt provided continuity at a time of uncertainty and transition: the APC network and APC staff.

In August, we brought together all our organisational members and staff to talk about the network’s strategic direction, celebrate our collective work, and elect APC’s board of directors. Global meetings of APC members happen only every three years. During these meetings, APC members decide on the direction APC takes and the priorities we commit to as a network.

Our meeting in August 2017 was the 13th member meeting since APC was formed in 1990. We chose the elephant – revered for its strength, wisdom, longevity and cooperative spirit, values that embody the close-knit APC community – as the key element in the design of all the materials used for the meeting. This spirit was evident throughout the meeting, but two moments stood out me.

The first moment was hearing stories about the work of each APC member. We heard many inspiring stories and one story stuck with me. Arun of SPACE Kerala showed us emails from a severely autistic girl asking him questions about how the internet works. SPACE Kerala promotes open source software and undertakes digital literacy for poor communities in the state of Kerala in India.

The emails he showed us were written by the girl’s mother, who learned how to use email through SPACE Kerala’s work. Her daughter only communicates with her through touch – pressing into her mother’s skin to tell her something. The mother then translates this touch language into emails to Arun and vice versa. It was a powerful reminder of how access can make a profound difference in someone’s life.

The second moment happened on the last day of the meeting when APC members elected a new board of directors for a three-year term. The board of directors is APC’s primary governing body. It makes policy and management decisions, and works with the executive director and staff to implement APC’s strategic priorities. There were only seven positions open and 19 candidates from member organisations stood for the elections, ready to serve on the network’s board. To me, this was an indication of commitment and ownership on the part of our members. Not only does APC have a strong and competent new board, there are also 12 other member representatives who can step up when needed.

In 2017, the APC staff and management team also spent time together to work more on our internal organisational health. We started this process two years ago, and the leadership transition in APC created an opportunity and a sense of urgency to address our own challenges. We tackled work culture, workload, structures and processes, support and self-care, and agency and decision making. Our conversations were not easy, but we came out of them with a shared responsibility for sustaining an organisation with the energy and power needed to feel fulfilled and healthy in our work and to get us closer to the impact we want to make.

I am very proud of the contributions that the combined work of the APC staff and our members and partners have made this year in our priority areas: affordable and sustainable access, promotion of internet-related rights, creating a feminist internet, transparent and democratic internet governance, and building capacity among civil society organisations and human rights defenders in internet use and development. I invite you to read the stories in this report that make our work come to life.

APC’s year of transition has been a year of learning and change for all of us. We’ve had a good year, made possible by the spirit, hard work and commitment of the APC staff, the engagement of our members, the guidance of our board of directors, and the support of our partners.

I look forward to what next year brings.

Chat Garcia Ramilo
Executive Director of APC

Our Vision

All people have easy and affordable access to a free and open internet to improve their lives and create a more just world.

Our Mission

APC’s mission is to empower and support organisations, social movements and individuals in and through the use of ICTs to build strategic communities and initiatives for the purpose of making meaningful contributions to equitable human development, social justice, participatory political processes and environmental sustainability.

Our Strategies

We believe that our mission is achieved through five interlinked strategies: research, advocacy, building networks and capacity, communications and outreach. To be instrumental to the APC community, research-based evidence must be communicated effectively in order to support advocacy, which then achieves change as its ultimate goal.



events attended by APC staff during 2017 in almost 30 countries.


submissions and statements produced and/or signed by APC in 2017.


activists reached through four city conversations on the Feminist Principles of the Internet.


local campaigns in 11 countries organised as part of the 2017 Take Back the Tech! campaign on the histories of the movement to end gender-based violence.


human and women’s rights defenders, sexual rights activists, bloggers, journalists and teenage girls learned to be safe online through more than 13 training workshops organised by APC and its partners.


civil society organisations and actors from the global South engaged in internet governance processes through APC’s support.


national human rights institutions and members of the judiciary from over 15 countries in Africa gained understanding on how to protect and promote human rights online as a result of workshops organised by APC.


community networks and local access initiatives in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe received technical, policy/regulatory, economic and social support from APC.


civil society actors and human rights defenders in Latin America and Africa were trained by APC and its partners to effectively use regional and international human rights instruments.


research, advocacy and project grants were allocated to members in 2017 towards the implementation of APC’s strategic plan.


visits to in 2017 by more than half a million unique visitors.


2017 was the second year of APC’s subgranting programme, implemented with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). These subgrants are aimed at enabling our member organisations to contribute towards achieving APC’s vision. Two types of grants were offered: project grants and research and campaigns grants.

The project grants are intended to contribute to the implementation of APC’s strategic plan at the national level, as well as to strengthen ongoing work of APC members that is linked to APC’s strategic priorities.

The campaign and research grants are for local activities that contribute to members’ advocacy work, and are also meant to enable members to participate in APC-wide campaigns.

With the funding provided by Sida, APC is currently supporting members until 2019. During the second year of the subgranting programme, our members have done incredible work. Check out the project grants implemented in 2017 here, and the campaign and research grants here.



TOTAL: USD 273,986

  • 10 project grants: USD 199,560
  • 11 research and campaign grants: USD 54,806
  • 28 GISWatch reports: USD 19,600

Project grants
up to USD 20,000:
USD 199,580

Research and
campaign grants
up to USD 5,000:
USD 54,806
APC Grants map




People who are digitally excluded on the basis of where they live, gender, class, disability or identity have affordable and sustainable connectivity that allows them to share and communicate.


ALIN promotes access to information in remote areas of Kenya

Arid Lands Information Network’s (ALIN) innovative approach to information and communications technologies (ICTs) and knowledge management received a boost in 2017 when it deployed a Community Education, Business and Information Centre (CEBIC) in Samburu County, Kenya. The Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development (LECRD) Project under which this centre falls is a joint initiative implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and is funded by USAID and UK Aid.

The centre will promote access to information as well create business opportunities for vulnerable communities. In addition, the Samburu County government, which is also a partner, will use the centre for its development activities. The centre will enhance access to timely and up-to-date information like market data, which is a critical element for spurring economic development.

Communities in the area lack the means to access and share transformative knowledge. Most of them do not have adequate skills and competencies to access needed knowledge and there is a lack of knowledge exchange nodes in the area.

The centre will be launched by the third quarter of 2018 and will offer renewable energy demonstrations and services, a community library, climate information, ICT services, building technology demonstrations, and conference and edutainment facilities.

The CEBIC will facilitate learning and skills transfer among communities. They will be able to embrace a culture of knowledge sharing that will enable them to make informed decisions on their livelihoods.

Image source: ALIN.

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Better-informed and more resilient community networks

Under the Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves? project implemented by APC in partnership with ISOC and Rhizomatica, APC published the first edition of a community networks and local access monthly newsletter in December 2017. This newsletter contributes to shaping a better-informed community of practitioners with greater resources for implementation and operation of more resilient, locally-owned telecommunications infrastructure.

Every newsletter edition contains opportunities for involvement, calls for grants, information on upcoming events related to community networks and local access, academic publications, news and blogs on the topic, regulatory updates and more, all in a multilingual format. You can subscribe to receive the newsletter here.

To watch out for: Prepare for many more newsletter editions in 2018! Also, the 2018 edition of the annual Global Information Society Watch report will focus on community networks and include over 40 country reports and eight thematic chapters.

Image: Rhizomatica.

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Building and supporting community cellular networks in Brazil and Colombia

Thanks to support through an APC subgrant, Rhizomatica was able to support a number of emerging initiatives in Brazil and Colombia regarding community cellular networks. These are basically community-based networks that use 2G cellular technology as a way to facilitate communication between people.

The project took Rhizomatica to both countries in the final part of 2017. In Brazil they worked with Rede Mocambos and local authorities and community members in the Kalungas quilombola community to put up a small, local GSM network. They then travelled up north to Pará state to work with the Lasse project at the Federal University of Pará in Belem. Together they installed two new networks. Since GSM frequencies are heavily regulated, the networks did not go live until early 2018, when the Brazilian regulatory authority approved the experimental licences.

After Brazil they travelled to Colombia to work with another APC member, Colnodo, and the University of Cauca, on the implementation of a community cellular network in the Cauca region, with indigenous, Afro-descendant and campesino populations. The network has been installed, but once again the licensing issue remains unresolved, although it seems that things will be worked out by mid-2018.

Image source: Rhizomatica.

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CITAD urges governments to equip female schools with ICT facilities and internet access in Nigeria

As the entry examination for tertiary education institutions becomes fully computer-based in Nigeria, most girls’ secondary schools in Kano state still do not have computer laboratories or internet access. Research conducted by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) on a sample of girls’ secondary schools in the state established that the students lacked information and communications technology (ICT) skills, even though they have to write a computer-based examination to gain entry into universities. Nigeria has a National ICT Policy which includes an education component, but implementation of the policy remains a challenge across the country.

Of the students sampled for the research study, 84.6% admitted they do not know how to operate a computer; a further 10.8% are computer literate but had acquired their computer literacy at home, as their schools lacked such facilities; and 4.7% said they have internet access in their schools, but there is a lack of maintenance, teachers, power, etc. The study also found that awareness of ICT at the parental and societal level is low.

Having raised a number of concerns, the study made a series of recommendations, which included urging governments to equip female schools with ICT facilities and internet access, as well as to recruit enough qualified teachers. It also stressed the need for parents to encourage and support their female children in computer and internet usage, while creating awareness around measures for protecting themselves against cyberbullying. The findings of the research were gathered in a publication, Promoting greater access to internet for female students of secondary schools, which was produced with the support of an APC subgrant.

Image source: CITAD. Conducting a focus group discussion with students for the research.

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Engagement in key forums on access-related policy, regulatory and governance processes

During 2017, in line with our longstanding commitment to promoting innovative and people-centred approaches to access (including areas such as digital migration, community networks, infrastructure sharing, dynamic spectrum management, open hardware, public access and access for women), APC continued advocating for access to information and communications technologies (ICTs) as enablers for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). APC intervened and engaged at national, regional and global forums, including the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as well as the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) and the Communications Regulators Association of Southern Africa (CRASA).

APC participated in numerous global events focused on community networks as a means of promoting access, such as the Community Networks Exchange in Asia-Pacific in September; the Digital Citizen Summit, organised by APC member organisation Digital Empowerment Foundation and ISOC, in September in New Delhi, India; and the Second Summit on Community Networks in Africa in May in Nairobi, Kenya. We organised a workshop on Local Connectivity Solutions for the Unconnected at the WSIS Forum, convened by the ITU in June 2017 in Geneva.

APC delivered a statement at the WSIS Forum High-Level Policy Session, “Inclusiveness – Access to Information and Knowledge for All”, where we emphasised the need to encourage governments to develop policy and regulatory environments that support community-based local access networks as well as other inclusive approaches.

We participated in a Workshop on Policy and Regulatory Advocacy for Community Networks with Civil Society organised in October in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a pre-event to the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) and, in partnership with ISOC and Rhizomatica, worked at the WTDC in November to promote the adoption of a resolution in favour of community networks. At the Stockholm Internet Forum 2017 in May, APC staff members were panelists in the session, “Helping the last four billion get connected: The potential for small-scale community-based networks”.

At the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2017 in Geneva, APC participated in several workshops on community networks and in particular the Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity (DC3), where APC’s paper on research methodology was presented and published in the DC3 2017 annual report. APC also contributed to the IGF session on Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion.

In addition, APC delivered submissions on access-related policy and regulatory processes nationally and regionally, contributing to an increased understanding of APC’s people-centred perspective on access, innovative regulatory approaches and public policy recommendations. The inputs provided to the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) Multistakeholder Working Group on multilateral development bank support for access, and a submission to ITU’s public consultation on over-the-top services (OTTs), among others, show APC’s deep commitment to this area of work.

Image: Screenshot of the video from the Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity (DC3) session at the 2017 IGF.

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Highlighting the gender dimension in access policies and discussions

2017 saw significant attention to gender and access issues, and APC was poised to inform and convene key discussions in order to advance women’s human rights through ICTs.

The 35th UN Human Rights Council session (HRC35) in June 2017 was one of the spaces in which APC engaged in order to amplify the outreach of access and gender issues. At HRC35 the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report on “Bridging the Gender Digital Divide from a Human Rights Perspective”. The report reinforced APC’s analysis of gender and access issues, calling for addressing underlying social and cultural barriers to women’s meaningful access and use of the internet and adopting a multifaceted approach towards eliminating online gender-based violence. We co-organised a side event with the OHCHR and the permanent missions of Sweden and the United States on bridging the gender digital divide from a human rights perspective, to give visibility to the gender digital divide as a symptom and cause of violations of women’s human rights, and to mobilise the international community to address it.

APC delivered submissions on access-related policy processes with a focus on gender, including a rights-based access submission to the Gender Working Group of the UN Broadband Commission. APC was also invited to join EQUALS, the global partnership to bridge the gender digital divide, and contributed to its inaugural meetings.

In the global governance arena, APC co-facilitated the IGF Best Practice Forum on Gender and Access, which in 2017 examined the barriers faced by specific communities of women, including women with disabilities, refugee women, young women, elderly women, LGBTIQ women, women in rural areas and indigenous women. The preliminary findings and recommendations of the survey were discussed in a session for further exploration facilitated by APC at the IGF.

APC organised and moderated a pre-event panel and supported the attendance of five women’s rights and sexual rights activists to participate at the Stockholm Internet Forum 2017, which focused on the theme “Framing Access and Power”. APC also participated in the panel “Gender-based violence online: Levelling the discussion.”, APC’s gender and ICT policy site, also initiated a periodic column called “Access and beyond”. During 2017, the column explored the motivations of internet use in Africa; zero rating services and their value for ordinary users; the specificities of how access to the internet and the barriers to get it are different for women and men; and how researchers and activists can proactively explore gender dimensions when dealing with access and a progressively increasing gender digital divide.

To watch out for: In 2018, APC will again participate in the IGF Best Practice Forum on access and gender issues. Also look out for more in the column on community networks and gender, and some action happening during the AfChix TechWomen Summit 2018.

Image: APC Women’s rights policy lead, Jan Moolman, participating in the panel “Gender-based violence online leveling the discussion” at the Internet Stockholm Forum.

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Kéfir cooks up autonomous feminist networks

In 2017, along with its Latin American transhackfeminist allies Vedetas and Periféricas, Kéfir started dismantling the patriarchal structures of the internet in the “Autonomous Feminist Networks” lab which took place during the EncontrADA 2017 technologies and ancestral knowledge gathering in Serrinha do Alambari, Brazil. This is part of a long-term collaboration they have been cooking up around transhackfeminist and decolonial infrastructure.

You can see part of what Kéfir is up to by visiting the website on feminist autonomous networks that they developed together, and listening to a podcast of an interview with them at the 2017 Internet Freedom Festival. You can also check out the “From steel to skin” manifesto that Vedetas member Fernanda Monteiro and Kéfir co-founder Nadége co-created in the spirit of rephrasing “helping the needy” as “interdependence”, as well as the conversation they had on the subject with APC’s Erika Smith.

Image source: Kéfir.

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Nupef Institute launches collaborative multilingual website on spectrum usage policies and practices

The Nupef Institute supports the implementation of community networks in areas lacking internet access, both through the deployment of networks in regions that are not accessible (such as the Marohao communities in Maranhão where Nupef operated through 2017), and through the circulation of information on the dynamic use of spectrum.

The spectrum site gathers information, documentation and learning materials on initiatives, public policies and regulation regarding the dynamic use of spectrum and underutilised frequencies for the creation of community internet access networks where access is non-existent or precarious.

The portal, launched in 2017, was conceived as a reference space, with the aim of disseminating information about community network initiatives. The Nupef Institute acts as an editorial facilitator, as well as handling the maintenance of infrastructure, site administration and technical development. An 11-member editorial group brings together experts and activists from Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa, Australia and the United States who share their knowledge and references from concrete experiences.

In August 2018, the Nupef Institute will carry out an evaluation and planning with the editorial team to encourage dynamic collaboration on the site and broaden its reach. The content of the portal has been promoted through e-newsletters and through the Nupef Institute’s Facebook page.

Image source: Nupef Institute. Network installation in Penalva, state of Maranhão in the Northeast region of Brazil.

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Rhizomatica and AlterMundi train indigenous communicators in Mexico

Between October 2016 and May 2017, the first edition of the Diploma Course for Community Promoters in Telecommunications and Broadcasting was held in Mexico. Two member organisations of APC collaborated in this process: Rhizomatica, who taught the community cellular networks module, and AlterMundi, who led the module on wireless internet networks. The coordination for the diploma course was conducted by Redes por la Diversidad, Equidad y Sustentabilidad A.C. and Palabra Radio.

Overall, the project involved 17 Mexican organisations that have been collaborating since 2012 in a participatory research process to understand the concepts that should be reinforced for indigenous communicators. Based on the results of this research, the need to coordinate efforts in the technical training of organisations working with community and indigenous media was detected.

The course consisted of eight modules that included topics around community communication and technology, electricity, electronics, free/libre software, broadcasting, community cellular networks, wireless internet networks, legal frameworks and sustainability. The course was attended by community communication organisations from six Mexican states, and a total of 36 participants. The knowledge that was socialised during the diploma course was accompanied by the provision of tools and equipment to the participants through four new regional technological laboratories.

Image source: Techio Comunitario.

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Support to 11 community networks in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe

2017 was the first year of the “Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves?” project, which we implemented in partnership with APC member organisation Rhizomatica, from Mexico, and the Internet Society (ISOC), with the involvement of external consultants Nicola Bidwell and Steve Song.

As part of this initiative, APC provided technical, policy/regulatory, economic and social assistance, with an emphasis on community networks and gender, to at least 11 community networks and local access initiatives that identified progress in and barriers to their deployment, development and sustainability in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

In order to better understand the business, technology and institutional models that have been adopted in a range of community-based and local access networks, APC and our partners carried out in-depth case studies and analysis to identify and understand the gender dimensions of local access networks, the roles women play in them, the barriers to women’s participation and mechanisms to increase their participation and contribute to transforming gender roles.

APC also built regional and global alliances of community networks, and strengthened the capacities of local access practitioners and advocates through the networking and collaboration opportunities provided through the Local Access Networks project and our partnerships.

To watch out for: In 2018, APC will significantly focus on creating an enabling environment for communities and local entrepreneurs to solve their own connectivity challenges, and APC member organisations devoted to promoting community-owned infrastructures will play a major role in these efforts.

Image: Coolab, Brazil.

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Human rights norms and standards integrate gender and development, and are respected and promoted in internet and ICT policy, governance, development and practice.


7amleh Center advances its work in freedom of expression and digital rights through research and Palestine Digital Activism Forum

7amleh Center has been laying the foundations for awareness and advocacy on digital rights in Palestine through the publication of groundbreaking research on “Internet Freedoms in Palestine – Mapping of Digital Rights Violations and Threats”, and bringing key policy-makers from social media giants Facebook and Google to engage with Palestinian civil society in the first-ever Palestine Digital Activism Forum (PDAF) in Ramallah. 7amleh’s research analyses threats to and violations of Palestinian digital rights by governmental actors – the Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip – as well as social media companies.

This innovative research is 7amleh’s foundation for its awareness and advocacy campaigns, as well as lobbying work with non-governmental actors. Representatives from Google and Facebook at the second PDAF in Ramallah interacted with Palestinian civil society on their policies regarding Palestine.

Image source: 7amleh Center.

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Advocating for a rights-based approach to internet policy in Africa, Asia and LAC

APC’s research, advocacy and capacity-building work during 2017 contributed to an increased understanding among civil society, human rights defenders, national human rights institution (NHRI) representatives and development practitioners in Africa, Asia and Latin America of how the internet has become a key site of struggle for the full enjoyment of human rights.

Human rights violations on the internet are increasing and NHRIs have a key role to play to protect and promote human rights online. APC developed a paper, “National human rights institutions in digital spaces“, in response to the call for submissions on the role of NHRIs in Southeast Asia in protecting human rights. It addresses the ways that ICTs and the internet in particular create new and promising spaces where NHRIs can improve the way they function and reach out to stakeholders in previously unimaginable ways. It also makes a call to NHRIs to remind governments that their obligation to protect, promote and fulfil all human rights includes providing meaningful access to the internet for all people.

In Africa, APC co-organised human rights capacity-building workshops, including an event where NHRI representatives and members of the judiciary from over 15 countries were trained on how to protect and promote human rights online by effectively using regional and international human rights instruments such as the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, and a training workshop for civil society organisations from the region, co-organised with APC member CIPESA and Small Media Foundation, titled “Connecting your rights! Using international and regional human rights mechanisms to protect human rights online”.

APC also co-organised a training workshop for 11 representatives of Latin American civil society organisations in December 2017 on the use of regional and global human rights instruments, in collaboration with the Centre for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE).

The African Declaration, the Feminist Principles of the Internet, the APC Internet Rights Charter, the APC Internet Rights Are Human Rights training curriculum and the APC-La Rue Framework were used as monitoring frameworks and mechanisms to advocate for a rights-based approach to internet policy.

In 2017, the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms interactive web platform was translated in more languages to promote wider engagement and outreach of the Declaration. The platform is now available in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic. According to Avis Momeni, secretary general of PROTEGE QV, an APC member organisation in Cameroon that frequently uses the African Declaration for advocacy, “Having the Declaration in all these languages helps sensitise all African users and makes them more aware of their rights relative to the internet. It also enables African governments, on the other hand, to understand the scope of these principles in the elaboration and implementation of public policies.”

APC also carried out presentations to promote greater awareness and engagement around the African Declaration and its web platform at five key global and regional events, including the 2017 Internet Freedom Festival in Valencia, Spain, RightsCon in Brussels, Belgium, and the Africa Internet Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

To watch out for: In 2018, APC will deepen its engagement in regional work through strategic interventions at regional human rights mechanisms and developing internet rights agendas with regional members and partners.

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Collaboration with members and partners in international policy processes contributes to the integration of internet rights issues

Consistent collaboration with APC members and partners contributed to the inclusion of internet rights issues in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

APC supported partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malaysia, Mexico and Pakistan to submit country reports to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women’s thematic report on online gender-based violence.

Collaboration with members and partners also resulted in submissions to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Pakistan and Lebanon) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (South Korea and South Africa) committees.

Of particular importance is the recognition of network shutdowns as a threat to freedoms online in Pakistan by the country’s high court and by both the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression and the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association.

APC also contributed to outcome documents, concluding observations and recommendations that reinforced states’ obligations to protect human rights online and develop internet regulation and policies in line with international human rights norms.

To watch out for: 2018 will be a year of many collaborations, including joint advocacy that links national efforts to regional and global initiatives, new partnerships, and the development of resources to support APC members’ engagement in international human rights mechanisms.

Image: Fragment of the design by Constanza Figueroa in the “Human rights and the internet: The Key Role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Protecting Human Rights in the Digital Age” brochure.

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Developing Internet Universality Indicators with UNESCO

In 2015, UNESCO put the concept of “Internet Universality” at the heart of its work to promote an internet that works for all. In June 2017, UNESCO launched a year-long programme of consultation to develop a set of Internet Universality Indicators, covering four fundamental principles (rights, openness, accessibility and multistakeholder participation) and the cross-currents between them.

The work on the project to define Internet Universality Indicators was led for UNESCO by APC on behalf of the Internet Indicators Consortium, which includes, apart from APC, ict Development Associates, Research ICT Africa, LIRNEasia and DIRSI.

Consultation with stakeholders played a central part in developing the indicator framework, as well as making the questionnaires available in all of the six UN official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish). The first phase of consultation, from June to October 2017, was concerned with broad principles and ideas for the framework as a whole. The second phase, from December 2017 to March 2018, was concerned with specific indicators. Towards the end of 2017, a draft set of options for specific indicators was published, and stakeholders were again asked for their views on these.

APC and UNESCO also organised regional and global multistakeholder consultations in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Europe and Asia. During the first phase, 24 face-to-face consultation meetings in 21 countries attracted 165 written and online contributions. During the second phase of consultations, 12 face-to-face consultation meetings in 10 countries attracted 148 written and online contributions. There was also a global consultation that took place during a session at the 2017 IGF.

To watch out for: In 2018, the final development of the Internet Universality Indicators will be made public.

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Digital skills to strengthen digital rights for local communities in Argentina

In 2017 Nodo TAU focused on the capacity building of local organisations to strengthen their digital rights, with the support of an APC subgrant. Between August and December they coordinated a series of communication workshops (Taller de Comunicación, or TACO for short) on digital skills for local organisations working on human rights, children’s issues, labour and health rights, gender, social economy and Indigenous communities, among others.

The TACO workshops involved eight meetings that were designed and planned together with six local organisations from the communications field: FARCO, the Argentine community radio federation; Sin Cerco, an independent press and photography agency; Sindicato de Prensa de Rosario, the local journalists union; ConX, a collective of journalists working on gender-sensitive communications; La Masa, a cooperative of journalists who head up a newspaper, a web agency and radio programmes; and Coopares, a cooperative working on digital tools for social and labour organisations.

During the workshops Nodo TAU focused on issues like communication, the internet and human rights; gender; abilities in writing and telling our own stories; audiovisual production; mapping local media, social networks and digital tools; independent media and the sustainability of independent communication projects. This initiative not only brought them closer to local communities, but also consolidated a network of local groups. At the end of November Nodo TAU organised together with ConX a Feminist Workshop on Digital Self-Defence, in the framework of the Take Back the Tech! campaign.

Image source: Facebook.

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Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa: A growing footprint

In September 2017, the annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) was hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was a partnership between APC and the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) which saw the physical footprint of FIFAfrica grow: since the first edition in 2014, the Forum had always been hosted in Uganda.

The landmark event convenes various stakeholders from the internet governance and online rights arenas in Africa and beyond to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, access to information, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online. Sessions at the Forum were built around the 13 principles of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms.

In the lead-up to FIFAfrica, CIPESA activities included a series of convenings and ICT policy advocacy workshops which were hosted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Following continued affronts to digital rights in Africa, FIFAfrica provided a platform to delve deeper into the various challenges and opportunities that exist – and lie ahead. The State of Internet Freedom in Africa 2017 report was launched alongside the new Framework for Calculating the Economic Impact of Internet Disruptions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Insights from the Forum were shared at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which took place in December in Switzerland.

Image source: The REACT policy framework to close the digital gender divide as captured by Neema Iyer, a beneficiary of travel support to attend FIFAfrica 2017.

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Increased understanding of censorship and criminalisation of political, religious and sexual expression in Asia

APC’s research, advocacy and capacity-building work contributed to increased understanding among civil society, human rights defenders and development practitioners of the threat of censorship and criminalisation of political, religious and sexual expression in Asia.

This increased capacity was a result of two joint submissions at the Human Rights Council 2017 sessions, and several publications produced as part of the Advocacy for Change through Technology in India, Malaysia and Pakistan (IMPACT) project, implemented in partnership with the Digital Empowerment Foundation from India, EMPOWER from Malaysia and Bytes for All, Pakistan. The research produced through the IMPACT project provided evidence and analysis of trends in Asia.

One of the main outputs was APC’s regional mapping of laws impacting the internet, titled “Unshackling Expression”, which was released as a special edition of Global Information Society Watch, and covers laws in six countries: India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.

Another relevant publication, APC’s regional research paper on freedom of expression in the context of religion online, “Let the mob do the job: How proponents of hatred are threatening freedom of expression and religion online in Asia”, expands the scope of the analysis on hate speech to suggest a multi-layered analysis that considers political, economic and social structures, the impact of inequalities in societies and individual agency.

APC and our IMPACT project partners also published country research papers on the state of freedom of expression, freedom of information, and freedom of assembly and association online in India, Malaysia and Pakistan.

To broaden advocacy in Asia, APC, Global Partners Digital, FORUM-ASIA and Bytes for All Pakistan brought together 50 civil society groups from across the region for a two-and-a-half-day gathering in October in Bangkok, Thailand. They were joined by David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, who, in his keynote address, outlined some of the main intersections that characterise the digital and human rights landscapes. Participants also had the opportunity to share their views and input first hand into Kaye’s 2018 annual report to the UN Human Rights Council, which will be focused on content regulation.

To watch out for: APC will develop further capacity-building spaces for NHRIs in Asia. And look out for the illustrated summary of the report on online content regulation by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression that APC will produce.

Image: David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion during the State of the Internet event in Bangkok. Source: Twitter.

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Jinbonet opposes indiscriminate use of personal information based on big data in Korea

Recently, all over the world, including Korea, there seems to be a craze for artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and big data. These new technologies use comprehensive data including personal information. Because of this, Korean companies – especially communications, healthcare and finance enterprises – are demanding deregulation of personal information protection for activating big data industry.

To meet the needs of the companies, the administration of former president Park Geun-hye announced the Guidelines for De-Identification of Personal Information in 2016. According to the guidelines, if personal information is processed as unidentifiable in a certain way defined in the guidelines, it is not considered personal information and so companies can use it freely. In addition, the guidelines designated public agencies such as the Korea Internet and Security Agency as “a specialised agency for de-identification”, which combines personal information from different corporations and provides linked data to those corporations.

Civil society organisations including Jinbonet protested that the guidelines violated the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). This is because even though de-identification in accordance with the guidelines does not guarantee sufficient anonymisation, companies can use personal information without the consent of the data subjects. The CSOs filed charges with the public prosecutor against the specialised agencies and 20 companies for providing and combining personal information without the consent of the data subjects. The organisations also demanded improvements to the PIPA and strengthening of the authority of the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC), a data protection body.

Image source: Jinbonet. Civil society groups including Jinbonet held a press conference to announce charges filed against specialised agencies and 20 companies with the public prosecutor on 19 November 2017.

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KICTANet elections observation mission

The last two general elections in Kenya have had heavy deployment of technology to improve transparency, efficiency and accountability in the electoral process. During the 2017 general elections, the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) observed the use of information and telecommunications technologies (ICTs) before, during and after election day. The network focused on digital rights such as privacy rights during the electronic voter registration process and access to election information by the citizens, as well as the use of online spaces during the election period.

In preparation for the observation exercise, KICTANet held online and offline discussions on technological emerging issues. These included discussions during the Kenya IGF that brought together representatives from the electoral management body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the regulator, the private sector and civil society. Some team members also attended training meetings organised by the IEBC, where they observed mock voting and transmission of results.

As part of its cybersecurity programme, KICTANet also conducted a cybersecurity and elections workshop in partnership with Global Partners Digital (GPD). The workshop reflected on the issues that came up during the elections. Some of the topics that emerged were the use of fake news by citizens and politicians, the hacking claims made by the opposition during the tallying of votes, and the capacity of the new cybercrime legislation to resolve these issues.

KICTANet continues to engage with the newly elected leaders, the elections body and other stakeholders on the use of fake news online, on cybersecurity and on the importance of digital rights in public policy processes.

Image source: KICTANet.

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Policy impacts in the United Nations sphere reinforce human rights online and address emerging challenges

APC’s policy advocacy work in 2017 contributed to several resolutions that were adopted at the Human Rights Council and other UN bodies that reinforce human rights online and address emerging challenges.

Issues we raised include norms around protecting encryption and anonymity, concerns about the impact of profiling of data for economic, social and cultural rights, the criminalisation of expression in Asia, and the criminalisation of digital security.

These issues were taken up in the HRC resolution on privacy in the digital age, the UN General Assembly Third Committee’s resolution on human rights online for human rights defenders and the safety of journalists, and the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on ways to bridge the gender digital divide from a human rights perspective, which reflects APC’s framing of the issue and puts forth recommendations aimed at advancing women’s rights online.

APC also spoke at the opening ceremony of the WSIS Forum, presenting civil society concerns over insufficient focus on human rights and people-centred development in the WSIS follow-up process and highlighting that governments are not including civil society at the national level.

To watch out for: In 2018, APC will continue to collaborate with its members around a number of key internet-related policy spaces, including the Human Rights Council, RightsCon Toronto and regional forums.

Image: Courtesy of Deborah Brown.

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Protecting the Paraguayan Guasu Metropolitan park with the help of social media

In January 2017, the Paraguayan Ministry of Public Works began to dig two large trenches, four metres deep, in Guasu Metropolitan Park, the last natural forested area in Asunción, claiming that these would serve to collect run-off from the stream that runs along the border of the park, in order to prevent flooding. In fact, what they were creating was a massive sewage reservoir.

Asociación Trinidad, along with a small group of civil society representatives, lawyers, journalists, environmentalists and engineers, began to research ways to stop the work. Using the Law on Access to Public Information, they discovered that the operation had not received municipal authorisation, and that the environmental permits had been improperly requested.

What began as the initiative of a small group of people who filed a complaint with the municipality to halt the work then moved to social media platforms, where protests and demonstrations were organised. A pivotal moment came when Asociación Trinidad director Arturo Bregaglio physically placed himself in the path of the bulldozers to keep them from entering the park, after the complaint filed had succeeded in obtaining a stop-work order. This act of defiance went viral, spurring the massive support needed for the cause. As a result, the deforestation of the park was suspended for over a year, while efforts are underway to have it declared a Protected Natural Area by the National Congress.

Image source: Asociación Trinidad.

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Real or Not: News verification and fact checking Facebook page in Myanmar

MIDO has started a Facebook page called “Real or Not” to tackle the pressing issues of misinformation and incitement of inter-communal conflict in Myanmar.

Real or Not is a Facebook-based initiative in which MIDO conducts three main types of activities: developing content on news/digital literacy awareness; emergency response to current mis/disinformation that is being spread and could spark conflict and hatred; and assisting with fact-checking in response to users’ questions.

This is a flagship initiative in Myanmar and has inspired similar efforts in different locations and communities across the country. Now Real or Not is working on building an ethical fact-checking community in Myanmar and also producing content to be broadcast on major TV channels in the country.

Image source: MIDO.

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Strengthening networks on sexual rights and the internet

APC launched the Exploratory Research on Sexuality and the Internet (EROTICS) network in 2009, a research and advocacy project in India, Brazil, Lebanon, South Africa, the United States and Indonesia that looked at internet-related challenges facing LGBT and other sexual rights communities. The “Building EROTICS Networks in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka” project built on this previous work by strengthening the participation of India through partnering with Point of View, and bringing in new actors from Sri Lanka by partnering with Women and Media Collective, and partnering with LOOM in Nepal. The project connected with researchers, activists, bloggers and advocates working on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including sex workers, LGBTIQ communities, women with disabilities, and survivors of violence in these three countries.

Project activities in 2017 included advocacy aimed at influencing internet rights policy to include the rights of women and LGBTIQ people in global and regional decision-making forums on internet governance and women’s rights-related issues, such as the UN Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review process, the Internet Governance Forum and the Committee on the Status of Women.

To support advocacy strategies in key policy processes, APC produced the EROTICS South Asia exploratory research: Sex, rights and the internet report, comprising research studies from the project’s three target countries: India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The report forms an important baseline from South Asia that looks at internet-related challenges and opportunities experienced by women’s rights, LGBTIQ rights and sexual rights advocates, and addresses legal frameworks, regulation, experiences and strategies to respond to challenges, as well as use of the “power” of the internet.

The EROTICS Global Survey 2017: Sexuality, rights and internet regulations, also published in 2017, mapped how sexual rights activists use the internet to advance their work, and documented the types of risks, harassment, content regulation or censorship they deal with, and how they respond to them. The first global survey was launched in 2013, and a slightly revised version of the questionnaire was applied as a follow-up exercise in 2014. For the 2017 survey, an important innovation was introduced: in-depth interviews with individuals who volunteered to expand on their responses.

A special edition launched in December 2017, “The right to scream: Research on sexuality, the internet and communication”, looked at the state of internet rights, sexual rights and communication rights globally, and particularly in South Asia.

These research outputs of the EROTICS project were distributed and presented at three national events, two in India and one in Nepal, as well as at the 2017 Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) in Bangkok, the global Internet Governance Forum in Geneva, the Citizens Digital Summit in Delhi and the Global Voices Summit in Colombo.

APC also organised several activities in 2017 to fulfil the EROTICS project objective of building the capacity of sexual rights movements, organisations, activists and researchers in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka to engage politically with internet rights and resist online violence, content regulation and censorship, and to participate actively in internet policy debates. These included the EROTICS Regional Meeting in September in Negombo, Sri Lanka, and a Feminist Internet eXchange pop-up organised by APC and partners in Bangkok on 31 July, aimed at exploring the Feminist Principles of the Internet as a politically situated framework to address sexuality, gender and technology in the Asia-Pacific region, and developing recommendations for the APrIGF synthesis document as a way to surface gender and sexuality in the internet governance platforms and discussions in the region.

Another 2017 outcome was APC’s contribution to the development of the Yogyakarta Principles+10 on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics, which now include a new principle on “The Right to the Enjoyment of Human Rights in Relation to Information and Communication Technologies”, in recognition of the important role that ICTs play in the enjoyment of human rights by LGBTIQ people. Having this particular principle included is a clear outcome of APC’s impact in terms of its movement-building efforts along with LGBTIQ advocates.

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VOICE issues legal notice to protect the right to privacy in Bangladesh

A legal notice has been issued by VOICE to the Secretary of Posts and Telecommunications and Chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) demanding protection of the rights of mobile consumers and particularly the right to privacy. The notice was issued by VOICE’s legal adviser, Advocate Tanzim Al Islam, on 5 November 2017.

Mobile phone users of Bangladesh have been suffering from disturbances caused by unwanted calls and text messages from mobile operating companies that promote and advertise their products without considering subscribers’ personal daily life routines and customers’ interest, which constitutes a public annoyance.

No specific legal framework exists to control disturbances caused by the mobile operators. Thus the legal notice urged the authorities to take steps immediately for establishing a guideline or policy regarding telecommunication consumer protection for controlling unwanted calls and text messages from mobile operators and protecting the right to privacy of consumers.

The notice also stated that if the authorities fail to comply with the right to privacy of consumers, that matter would be taken further to Public Interest Litigation under Article 102 of the Constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh seeking proper justice.

Image source: Byron Barrett on Flickr.

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feminist internet


Women’s rights and sexual rights activists engage with internet and ICT policy and development as feminist issues.


Advocacy with women’s funds and donors on the importance of supporting work on feminism and technology

In 2017, the APC Women’s Rights Programme’s ongoing advocacy with funders resulted in increased support of programming related to women’s rights, sexual rights and the internet. There was also more buy-in by women’s rights funders and expansion of the feminist internet community. This was evident in the multi-funder and organisational collaboration behind the global Making a Feminist Internet: Movement Building in a Digital Age event, with three movement-based funds (Mama Cash, Astraea and Urgent Action Fund), in October 2017 in Malaysia.

As part of APC’s strategy to influence and impact the digital security community using a feminist movement-building strategy, three staff members attended the Initiative for Sustainable Activism meeting of trusted allies for strategic planning for holistic security organisations and individuals who work with activists and human rights defenders. APC’s work is influencing women’s rights donors to understand and see the need to embed digital and physical security in response to growing surveillance and harassment of grantee-partners.

APC Women’s Rights Programme manager Jac sm Kee participated in the Oak Foundation Women’s Rights Programme strategic meeting in March 2017, and presented awareness-raising sessions on digital security at the global meeting of Prospera, an international network of women’s funds, in October 2017. APC has also initiated an in-depth survey on technology-related risk assessment with selected grantee-partners for the Open Society Foundation Women’s Rights Programme.

Image: Fragment of a design by Constanza Figueroa.

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City conversations on a feminist internet with women’s and sexual rights activists

During 2017, APC engaged in intense advocacy work to bring the Feminist Principles of the Internet (FPIs) to women’s rights and sexual rights activists, as well as internet rights activists, around the world, to promote their uptake and adaptation to local realities. The main channel to develop this was through the convening of five city conversations in different countries that reached 112 activists.

The first of the city conversations took place in January in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, organised in partnership with One World Platform and the feminist online media initiative Zenskaposla, with 15 participants. The second was in East London, South Africa in February, with 28 participants, organised in partnership with Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre and Women’sNet. The third city conversation took place in April in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with 38 participants, held in partnership with the Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos. The fourth, held in March in Mexico City, in partnership with Luchadoras and Sandia Digital, brought together 27 participants. The fifth and last, a city conversation in Harare, Zimbabwe in July 2017 in partnership with Her Zimbabwe and the Coalition of African Lesbians, brought together 14 activists.

In addition, the FPIs platform was updated in 2017 to further increase outreach and engagement, through the addition of new content as well as re-organising and animating the platform.

To watch out for: Stay tuned for a Feminist Principles of the Internet engagement kit containing visuals, audio, banners and social media products to be developed and used by several organisations and media, and a re-designed FPIs platform.

Image: Screenshot of the video “Tenemos derecho a navegar seguras en internet” of the city conversation in Mexico.

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From imagining to making a feminist internet

The Making a Feminist Internet: Movement Building in a Digital Age meeting was held in October 2017 and hosted 84 participants from around the world, primarily from the global South, concerned with issues related to internet rights, women’s rights, sexual rights and digital security.

This first-of-its-kind event – co-organised by APC and movement-based funds and organisations: AWID, Astraea, CREA, the FRIDA Young Women’s Fund, Mama Cash and the Urgent Action Fund – brought together multiple actors to discuss feminist movement building in the digital age, with a specific track addressing digital safety and security issues. This third feminist internet meeting represented a turning point on how technology is understood among women’s rights and sexual rights funders and feminist networks.

One of the premises of the event was the need to build the future with a strong memory of the individual and collective past, acknowledging that movement building happens in a continuum in the digital age, with a central focus on the discourse on technology in relation to infrastructure, safety, participation, governance and decision-making, expression and violence.

A special edition was launched in November 2017 and captured the main thoughts emerging after the prolific gathering: how to grapple with the new questions to be asked about accountability, movements, ethics, self-care, organising and expression, and to pin down the role of remembering and archiving, of telling, finding and constructing the herstory.

This convening represented the synthesis of a full year of focused advocacy and relentless strategic engagement through capacity building and evidence building with the feminist, women’s rights and sexual rights funders community, leading global organisations and networks, and very localised work with APC members and partners.

To watch out for: APC’s movement building towards a feminist internet will continue, with a fourth gathering of feminists in 2018.

Image: Participants arranging elements in the Museum of Moments installation, as captured by Fungai Machirori.

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Increased take-up of women’s rights and online gender-based violence in global and national policy spaces and debates

APC’s Women’s Rights Programme has made visible the impact of online gender-based violence on women’s rights for more than a decade. During 2017, APC continued to present its analysis and positions on women’s rights and online gender-based violence, resulting in greater uptake of these issues in global and national policy and debate spaces.

A key result in 2017 was the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s adoption of General Recommendation No. 35 on gender-based violence against women, updating General Recommendation No. 19, which includes a reference to contemporary forms of violence against women occurring on the internet and in digital spaces.

Another key moment in APC’s advocacy took place on 13 March at the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women. APC participated along with UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye and Malaysian human rights lawyer Zarizana Abdul Aziz in a parallel event on online gender-based violence and accountability of states and the private sector.

APC also participated in the World Association for Christian Communications’ Gender and Media Consultation on 9-11 March 2017 in New York, with a presentation during a panel on gender and communication policies since the World Summit on the information Society (WSIS). The UN General Secretary adopted this input, which would later be published in a resolution adopted during the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Another highlight was APC’s participation in the panel “Gender-based violence online: Levelling the discussion” at the Stockholm Internet Forum 2017 in May.

At the regional level, APC participated in the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Governance Forum in July 2017 in Panama, in a panel discussion of public policies on online violence against women.

To watch out for: The HRC will discuss prevention of and responses to violence against women and girls in digital contexts in 2018, and this is expected to result in further advances.

Image: APC women’s rights policy lead, Jan Moolman, participating in the panel “Gender-based violence online: Levelling the discussion” at the Internet Stockholm Forum.

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Latin America in a Glimpse 2017: Gender, feminism and the internet in Latin America

The internet exists thanks to the work of many women who have been rendered invisible, shut out from spaces of power and also subjected to violence. Different organisations around the world have attempted to respond to, fight back against and change this reality. Derechos Digitales has learned a lot from them, and just over a year ago, they began to develop a strategy to join the cause. They want to construct an internet that is safe and inclusive at every level; they want to make another internet.

From the Latin American feminist movement, Derechos Digitales has learned that together we are stronger: we can help each other, support each other, teach each other and respond. As an organisation that defends human rights and the public interest, their work consists of promoting and strengthening a community of women and feminists working at the different levels of the digital ecosystem in Latin America. How? By getting to know them, promoting their work, mapping their efforts and fostering contact between them.

Feminist servers with policies that zealously protect our privacy; women teaching and learning programming languages; geolocalising open data; developing apps to disseminate information and assist victims of domestic, social or institutional violence. Organisations that develop methodologies to raise awareness and promote adoption of safe internet use practices; journalists, editors and storytellers working to share our stories. All of us together are building this internet we dream of, and many of them are in the 2017 report, Latin America in a Glimpse: Gender, feminism and the internet, produced with the support of an APC subgrant.

Image source: Derechos Digitales.

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Mapping research in gender and digital technology

Between January and November 2017, APC carried out a mapping study of the research in gender and digital technology taking place in or concerning middle and low-income countries in the last decade (2006-2017). The study focused on information and communications technologies and the internet in particular. but broadly encompassing digital technology and its impact on gender.

The “Mapping research in gender and digital technology” study mapped the trends, issues and changing contexts that emerged through a literature review, as well as the key issues, challenges, gaps, priorities and emerging areas, while providing a brief overview of the key actors and initiatives contributing to the work in different regions and subregions. It also addressed the value of research networks in this field, what would contribute to their success or impact, and the key challenges they face. Another of the objectives was for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which supported the mapping study, to examine its funding initiatives and programming.

The final output of this project was a publication that maps research and knowledge production in the field of gender and digital technology. In addition, produced a special edition on the subject, launched in September 2017, titled “We cannot be what we cannot see”, taken from Kerieva McCormick’s moving exploration of how young Roma women and girls deal with, understand and talk about violence and harassment faced by Roma people, online and offline.

To watch out for: Keep an eye out for the publication of the executive summary of the mapping research in gender and digital technology study to come out in 2018.

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OWP builds online safety for Safe Houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina

“Building Online Safety for Safe Houses” is a project implemented by One World Platform (OWP) from July to December 2017, with the financial support of an APC subgrant. Within the framework of the project, in October 2017, OWP began trainings that covered topics related to policies for the integrity and security of organisations and online violence against women and girls. On that occasion, OWP cooperated with four organisations responsible for safe houses that provide shelter for women and girls who have been abused: the Foundation for Local Democracy (in Sarajevo), Vive žene (Tuzla), Udružene žene (Banja Luka) and Medica (Zenica). The workshops were intended for employees of safe houses and the organisations that run them.

OWP worked with them to help them create and implement their own digital security policy, but also talked about technology-related violence and why it was important to recognise it as a form of violence. Almost all of the participants confirmed the importance of the topic we dealt with and said that they were completely unaware of certain things that seemed to be quite irrelevant at first. Additionally, OWP published the manual “Online Safety 101”, where they explained all the details regarding online violence, its most usual forms and most importantly, how to be safe on the internet.

Image source: OWP.

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Point of View’s Skin Stories: Essays on sexuality, disability and gender

In August 2017, Point of View launched the publication Skin Stories, which is a weekly essay series of narratives on sexuality, disability and gender. The origins of the publication lie in a nameless blog on Point of View’s website, which only had one writer for a long time, and then two. But over time, the site was able to reach more and more people who lived with either disability or chronic illness, and who wanted to write for it.

The community of writers grew slowly and steadily, and it became clear that there was a need to create a platform that would do justice to their powerful voices, and help them reach the wide audiences they deserve. And so Skin Stories was given its name, its launch, and its current home: pages on Medium and WordPress that are updated every Tuesday. Together, the essays, articles, reports and illustrations not only reaffirm the premise of Point of View’s Sexuality and Disability programme – that people with disabilities are sexual beings, just like anyone else – but also give readers the gift of fresh, urgent, intersectional perspectives by voices they may not otherwise have access to.

Image: Upasana Agarwal for the story “I’m a Dalit woman, and my mental health matters.” 

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Take Back the Tech! campaign reaches wide range of activists

APC’s 2017 Take Back the Tech! (TBTT) campaign continued to reach a wide range of activists and raise awareness on gender-based violence, through a global TBTT campaign on the histories of the movement to end gender-based violence, which brought together participants in 44 countries. There were also 16 local campaigns developed in 11 countries.

The APC Women’s Rights Programme (APC WRP) drafted changes to the TBTT campaign kit in 2017 and tested a new monitoring and evaluation form for local campaigns during the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. This effectively encouraged more local campaigns to report impact and capture stronger results, especially through brief stories of change around campaign capacity and understanding of the dynamics of gender-based violence.

The Take Back the Tech! game, which is in development, was piloted at several events in order to test it and receive feedback from peer groups, such as a meeting by Safe Sister trainers in Kenya, the APC global members meeting in South Africa, trainings in Mexico with adolescents, teachers and women human rights defenders (WHRDs), and in the Philippines with WHRDs, as well as at a workshop at the Internet Freedom Festival 2017 in Valencia, Spain.

To watch out for: The TBTT game will be officially launched in 2018, so stay around to play with us!

Image: Audience members enjoying a story at EMPOWER’s Living Library for the Take Back the Tech! campaign in 2017.

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Women shaping journalistic practice in Bulgaria

In October 2017, BlueLink held a roundtable with practising journalists, university journalism professors, media representatives and gender experts in Bulgaria, focused on women shaping journalistic practice in Bulgaria. It probed into the image of a woman journalist, the role of women in the professional journalism environment, problems and advantages of women in journalism, including violence, aggression and attacks against female journalists, the reporting of women’s problems in the media, and what could be done about all of these. The professional discussion was part of the project “Journalism by Women for Women” implemented by the BlueLink Foundation with the financial support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women.

The results of the roundtable were summarised in the publication “Victims and culprits: Women shaping journalistic practice in Bulgaria”. It identifies various professional challenges faced by women in the Bulgarian media. Female journalists often cover topics considered less prestigious, and face disparagement and gender-based online abuse. Even though they outnumber men in editorial newsrooms, female journalists do not seem to dominate media content, as women’s rights and issues are not highly covered. Change in public attitudes is seen as crucially needed to improve professional environments and media coverage in favour of women.

Image source: Victims and culprits: Women shaping journalistic practice in Bulgaria. Design: Betina Gankova/BlueLink.

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WOUGNET highlights the importance of the Feminist Principles of the Internet to achieve women’s rights online in Uganda

On 26 October 2017, WOUGNET held a national, local-level conversation on the Feminist Principles of the Internet (FPIs) under a project funded by the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality, combined with a capacity-building activity funded under our Women’s Rights Online project, seeing as both sought to target policy makers by highlighting the need for an inclusive internet. The activity was intended as an opportunity to discuss information and communications technology (ICT) policy recommendations and policy gaps, and draw on case study narratives as orientations for discussion. It included components of the status of internet governance in Uganda while highlighting the implications of policy gaps on women’s online rights and digital empowerment.

The Feminist Principles of the Internet are an ongoing discussion and debate on proposed principles designed to guide legal frameworks of the ICT sector while pushing to incorporate a strong component of gender equality and a human rights approach. The recommendations in the 2015 report on Women’s Rights Online and the five-point action plan also share the same goal, with strong emphasis on internet access for all and the need for ICT policies and laws that are inclusive. This activity attracted participants from various institutions, including researchers, students and staff from Makerere University, the National Union of Women with Disabilities, I-freedom Network and NITA-U, among others.

Image source: WOUGNET Facebook page.

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Internet-related and ICT policy processes protect the publicness of the internet and are accessible, democratic, transparent, accountable and inclusive.


Advocating for a rights-based approach to cybersecurity

“Cybersecurity is the preservation – through policy, technology, and education – of the availability, confidentiality and integrity of information and its underlying infrastructure so as to enhance the security of persons both online and offline.” – Freedom Online Coalition

Incidents that generate forms of cyber “insecurity” and threats are increasing, and 2017 was a year with several incidents that affected the security of cyberspace. There were several intentional internet shutdowns in 2017, and the majority of these occurred in the global South, for example in Cameroon, India, Syria and Togo, disproportionately affecting already fragile communities by impacting the economy, communications and information dissemination.

During 2017, APC engaged in several spaces to advocate for a rights-based approach to cybersecurity. One of these was an IGF pre-event on 17 December 2017, “A rights-based approach to cybersecurity: A pipe dream or a critical means to a secure and stable internet?”, co-organised by APC and the Centre for Communications Governance at the National Law University Delhi, Centre for Internet and Society, Derechos Digitales, Citizen Lab, Global Partners Digital, Internet Society, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Privacy International.

The participants in the event reviewed major developments in the field of cybersecurity that impact on human rights, and mapped out future opportunities for collaboration to advance rights-based approaches to cybersecurity that bridge technical and policy approaches. A briefing document was prepared in advance to frame discussions at the pre-event that went deeper into understanding the human rights dimensions of cybersecurity policy in 2017.

APC also participated in the 2017 IGF Best Practice Forum on Cybersecurity and the IGF main session “Empowering Global Cooperation on Cybersecurity for Sustainable Development and Peace”. APC also took part in the pre-IGF session “Building Bridges Over Troubled Waters” organised by the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC), where Anriette Esterhuysen, APC’s director of global policy and strategy, spoke on behalf of APC and members of the GCSC about the Commission, the “Call to Protect the Public Core of the Internet” issued on November 2017, and the future of norms in guiding responsible state and non-state behaviour in cyberspace.

To watch out for: In 2018, APC will publish the outcome report “A rights-based approach to cybersecurity: Recommendations and considerations from a 2017 Internet Governance Forum pre-event”. Watch out as well for norms coming from the GCSC and a new project on human rights and cybersecurity supported by Mozilla.

Image: Screenshot from the video of the IGF 2017 Plenary “Empowering Global Cooperation on Cybersecurity for Sustainable Development and Peace”.

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AfriSIG continues to reap success in 2017

Since 2013, the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) has aimed to give Africans from diverse sectors and stakeholder groups the opportunity to gain knowledge, experience and confidence to participate effectively in internet governance processes and debates nationally, regionally and globally.

At the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum held in June 2017 in Geneva, APC contributed to the realisation of a side event on capacity building in internet governance, based on the experience it has gained through AfriSIG.

Later in the year, APC and the African Union Commission (AUC) co-organised the fifth edition of AfriSIG, held from 28 November to 2 December in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, with 19 participants from 10 countries. As in every edition, it brought together people of all ages, and with a wide range of experience, and contributed to increasing the diversity, extent, quality and influence of African participation in internet governance by creating a space that promotes multistakeholder learning and dialogue. Read the blog posts written by the 2017 AfriSIG alumni here.

Aside from the success of the fifth School and a revamped website that better reflects how this initiative is positively changing the internet governance landscape in Africa year after year, 2017 was a year of international recognition for AfriSIG, in the form of the 2017 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prize from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The award to AfriSIG, which was selected out of 345 nominated ICT success stories, was received on behalf of APC and the NEPAD Agency by Anriette Esterhuysen, APC’s director of global policy and strategy, from ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao at the awards ceremony on 12 June, during the annual WSIS Forum 2017. APC and the NEPAD Agency thank the ITU for this recognition and also extend their thanks to the people who voted for the initiative and who have made AfriSIG possible since 2013.

To watch out for: The sixth School will take place in Tanzania and gather dozens of participants. In 2018 APC will also publish an AfriSIG tracer study that covers the first four Schools (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016).

Image: Koliwe Majama.

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Building civil society capacities to meaningfully engage in internet governance processes

Throughout 2017, APC supported and facilitated the participation of 67 civil society organisations and actors from the global South to meaningfully and effectively engage with internet governance processes.

This was achieved through capacity-building initiatives like the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) and APC’s IGF Academy project, where 34 civil society activists, journalists, lawyers and members of the technical community learned to engage meaningfully with regional and global internet governance processes and issues.

APC, in partnership with iRights, organised a capacity-building workshop as part of the IGF Academy in Windhoek, Namibia, on 15-17 July 2017, which was attended by 15 participants from Togo, Namibia, South Africa and the Republic of Congo.

APC also facilitated the participation of 33 civil society actors and 44 women’s rights activists at national, regional and global IGFs, leading to increased participation of diverse voices at internet governance events.

In addition to the 19 participants from 10 countries who attended AfriSIG, a Gender and Internet Governance eXchange was held as part of the School in November 2017, with women’s rights activists from Uganda and South Africa who later participated in the African IGF.

To watch out for: In 2018 we will continue building capacities among civil society for advocacy in internet governance processes.

Image: African School on Internet Governance 2017 as captured by Koliwe Majama.

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Foundation for Media Alternatives launches an Open e-Governance Index

The Foundation for Media Alternatives published in September 2017 the results of its research project that developed a framework to assess open e-governance. Initially piloted in five countries, namely Colombia, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Uganda, the framework looked into how state and non-state actors use information and communications technologies (ICTs) to steer society collectively.

The OeGI project defines open e-governance as the presence of the following dimensions: meshed e-government; e-participation channels; digital inclusion; civil society use of ICTs; and open legal and policy ecosystems.

The study revealed that while there is progress towards open e-governance, there are dimensions that need to be strengthened. For instance, while there is a great demand for online participation among citizens, there are many policies and programmes that governments need to undertake before this can happen.

Openness is an important area of participation of civil society in the state, and norms for transparency and accountability are critical in ensuring that national ICT systems can be used for political and socioeconomic progress. In the future, the OeGI can be used as a normative tool to assess how countries utilise openness in network societies to enhance public service, citizen participation/engagement, and in addressing communication rights. The research was conducted with the support of Making All Voices Count and the Institute of Development Studies.

Image source: FMA.

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Fruitful engagement in internet governance processes nationally, regionally and globally

APC members, staff and partnering civil society actors played key roles in convening and organising internet governance processes nationally, regionally and globally in 2017. This was done through participation in the global IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group and the Best Practice Forums (BPFs), participation in regional multistakeholder steering committees and involvement in regional and national IGFs.

This engagement resulted in increased and more diverse presence of civil society voices and perspectives in internet governance spaces as panellists, speakers, organisers of sessions, and active members of the IGF intersessional dynamics.

In addition to this work at the global level, APC co-organised or took part in the steering committees of regional IGFs such as the Latin America and Caribbean IGF (Panama, August 2017), the Asia-Pacific IGF (Thailand, July 2017) and the African IGF (Egypt, December 2017). APC staff also actively participated in the Plan of Action for the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean (eLAC) process.

At the national level, APC supported partners’ participation in national IGFs in Nepal and Sri Lanka, as well as the national IGF in Argentina that took place in November 2017.

To watch out for: APC will continue engaging in these multistakeholder spaces nationally, regionally and globally, with key participation in the regional IGFs and at the 2018 IGF scheduled to take place in Paris, France, in November. The gender equality-related recommendations made by APC in 2017 in the eLAC process were included in the Digital Agenda 2018-2020 under Internet Governance, objective 23, at the 6th Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in LAC, which took place in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2018.

Image: Anriette Esterhuysen, APC’s director of global policy and strategy, as a panellist during the 2017 IGF opening session.

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Gender issues play a major role at the 2017 Internet Governance Forum

“Queer and LGBTIQ bodies make a difference on the issue of access. Also at the point of data collection in exchange for access it must be noted that technology is not neutral and comes from a specific place of power. What are we doing with our privilege?” – valentina hvale pellizzer

Although topics related to gender have been part of the debates at the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) from the beginning, it was the 2017 IGF, held on 18-21 December in Geneva, that included a main session on gender for the first time ever. Under the title “Gender inclusion and the future of the internet”, this main session aimed to foreground a discussion on gender and internet governance and policy, providing a space for stocktaking and discussion on key issues and challenges that have emerged, and making recommendations for ways forward.

Bishakha Datta, chair of the APC Board of Directors and executive director of APC member organisation Point of View, was one of the main session’s moderators, and emphasised “the need to actually go much deeper when we talk about gender and internet governance, right to the roots of patriarchy.”

Another speaker at the session, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye, addressed the fact that efforts to combat gender-based violence are often seen as competing with concerns related to freedom of expression. He referred to ongoing efforts spearheaded by APC to find commonality between the two and to establish that promoting freedom of expression and fighting gender-based violence can indeed go hand in hand.

APC executive director Chat Garcia Ramilo focused on what needs to be done in order to take gender and internet governance to the next level, emphasising APC’s efforts at pushing for gender to be constantly and consistently discussed in internet governance spaces at all levels, and referring to the effort to integrate the Gender Report Card at IGFs since 2011.

Another highlight with regard to gender at the IGF was the Best Practice Forum (BPF) on Gender and Access, moderated by APC’s Women’s Rights Programme manager Jac sm Kee. This was the third year of work for this BPF, which focused online abuse and gender-based violence in 2015, and on gender and access in 2016. In 2017, the BPF dealt with gender and access once again, but focused on specific communities of women: women with disabilities, refugee women, young women, elderly women, LGBTIQ women, women in rural areas and indigenous women.

A survey developed by the 2017 BPF that involved these various sub-groups brought out the specific needs and challenges in social and economic development facilitated by internet access. Connecting with the community, accessing information, and promoting educational opportunities were some of the key needs for the various sub-groups. The survey also highlighted lack of infrastructure, insufficient local and relevant content, and social and cultural norms as major hindrances to internet access for these sub-groups of women, as well as stressing the need for gender-focused policies and sustainable grassroots-level initiatives to enhance inclusivity.

Finally, the BPF and its panel discussed the BPF’s preliminary findings and recommendations for further exploration, and the ways in which stakeholders can support the work in addressing barriers to meaningful access faced by specific communities of women.

Image: Chat Garcia Ramilo, APC’s executive director, speaking at the 2017 IGF main session on gender.

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Global Information Society Watch foregrounds National and Regional Internet Governance Forum Initiatives

The 2017 edition of the annual Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) report focused on National and Regional Internet Governance Forum Initiatives (NRIs), increasing the capacity of civil society actors to analyse and engage with internet governance processes at all levels. NRIs are now widely recognised as a vital element of the IGF process and seen to be the key to the sustainability and ongoing evolution of collaborative, inclusive and multistakeholder approaches to internet policy development and implementation.

A total of 54 reports on NRIs were gathered in this edition, including 40 country reports from contexts as diverse as the United States, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea and Colombia. The country reports are rich in approach and style and highlight several challenges faced by activists organising and participating in national IGFs, including broadening stakeholder participation, capacity building, the unsettled role of governments and impact.

The 2017 GISWatch edition also included seven regional reports that analysed the impact of regional IGFs, their evolution and challenges, and the risks they still need to take to shift governance to the next level, while seven thematic reports offered critical perspectives on NRIs as well as mapping initiatives globally.

A special issue of GISWatch was also published as a companion edition to the main one, under the title “Internet governance from the edges: National and regional IGFs in their own words”, in collaboration with the IGF Secretariat. While the main 2017 GISWatch annual report provides independent and analytical perspectives on the role of NRIs in internet governance broadly, the special issue aims to give voice and visibility to the stories of each NRI, share their experiences and achievements and highlight their perspectives on internet governance.

To watch out for: The 2018 GISWatch edition will focus on local access and community networks initiatives, with more than 40 country reports and several thematic reports. APC and IDRC will also publish a baseline review of the GISWatch country reports from 2007 to 2017 to identify trends in civil society perspectives on what needs to be done to create a people-centred information society.

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use and development


Civil society actors, women’s rights and sexual rights advocates have the capacity to confidently use the internet and ICTs, and engage critically in their development.


Building networks and relationships to strengthen the digital rights movement in Southeast Asia

In October 2017, 105 journalists, artists, technologists, researchers and film-makers gathered in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for COCONET: a Southeast Asia Digital Rights Camp. It was organised by EngageMedia, in collaboration with APC, the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) and a regional consortium. COCONET, named after the coconut plant that is widely grown and used in the Southeast Asian region, also means “Connecting Communities and Networks”. Participants converged from across Asia and beyond to share their knowledge, skills, tools, experiences and ideas about digital rights in a series of open-space workshops, labs and evening activities.

“The workshop is great! It has an abundance of expertise and experience from all around the region and the people have such high energy. So much information within them. I’ve learned so much.” – Ilang-Ilang Quijano of Altermidya

Inspired by the discussions and newly set up relationships at COCONET, participants created a thriving network for sharing opportunities and knowledge. These collaborations and the sense of community are needed now more than ever. Civil society actors find themselves in an online environment increasingly full of risks, and despite substantial efforts, these issues remain little known or appreciated amongst the general public. EngageMedia believes that the networks and relationships established at COCONET are essential to strengthening the digital rights movement, especially in Southeast Asia.

Image source: EngageMedia.

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Colnodo strengthens digital skills and security in Colombia

In 2017 Colnodo continued its efforts in building digital security skills through training aimed at journalists, activists, ICT centre facilitators and women. Hands-on workshops were organised and teaching materials were developed to promote safe online practices and raise awareness of the resources and tools available to mitigate digital risks. These experiences served as the foundations for the implementation of the Digital Security School in Colombia, in partnership with Canadian APC member organisation, and the development of a digital security kit based on a kit designed by Derechos Digitales, another APC member.

Colnodo has developed innovative content to build knowledge among various sectors of the population, including women, entrepreneurs and librarians, among others, through online courses and mobile apps for Android and iOS. An app developed in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council, “Protection Tips at Your Fingertips”, is aimed at mitigating the vulnerability of social movement leaders in Colombia. In addition, as a way to facilitate access to knowledge for the unconnected or barely connected sectors of the population, Colnodo has developed versions of this online content that are accessible offline.

Meanwhile, 2,000 women entrepreneurs from 18 cities and municipalities across the country, including Bogotá and Medellín, were trained through the “Ella Aprende, Ella Emprende” programme, an initiative supported by Facebook which seeks to enhance the online presence and digital marketing skills of small enterprises headed by women.

Image source: Colnodo.

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Digital storytelling workshops on sexuality and the internet from a feminist practice of technology

“This needs to be held and respected. Digital storytelling is not simply about creating stories but also about sharing, learning and listening.” (Ethics section in

Through the project Building EROTICS Networks in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka on sexuality and the internet, APC WRP conducted two digital storytelling workshops as part of its feminist approach to free and open source technology use and the promotion of creative commons licensing.

The first was hosted in collaboration with the Women and Media Collective in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in July, with 15 participants who created digital stories in Sinhalese, Tamil and English. The second also took place in July, in Kathmandu, Nepal, in partnership with LOOM Nepal, where 18 participants created digital stories in Nepali and English. LOOM subsequently hosted a local digital storytelling workshop with 11 participants.

Since the storytellers are the ones who decide if their stories will be released into the public domain, all the stories for which we have permission can be viewed here.

To watch out for: Given the power and popularity of storytelling in the feminist movement, the APC Women’s Rights Programme will keep using elements of storytelling in various workshop spaces. We will be capturing the methodologies used and making these available on the platform.

Image: Screenshot from the digital storytelling video “How Many Check Points“, created at the digital storytelling workshop in partnership with Women and Media Collective held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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DiscoTech 2017 promotes exchange of experiences around criminalisation of technical expertise

The fourth DiscoTech was held in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 2017. The event was co-hosted by APC along with ARTICLE 19, IFEX, Access Now, Greenhost and Aspiration. Eight speakers shared their experiences around the theme “criminalisation of technical expertise around the world” in an informal evening setting attended by 200 activists.

The theme was chosen to highlight the crackdown on the use of secure digital communications in many parts of the world where governments, including those of Australia and the United Kingdom, are threatening to legislate backdoors for law enforcement in encryption standards, which would substantially weaken security for everyone while increasing the likelihood of damaging attacks from hostile actors.

The event also provided an opportunity to increase the visibility of situations such as the arrest in Turkey of IT consultants for professionally imparting their skills and knowledge around technical matters to human rights defenders.

To watch out for: The fifth DiscoTech will take place during the 2018 IGF in Paris, France, under the theme “disability and accessibility to the internet”. Look out for more details!

read more▼ at work on Deflect Labs: Online attack forensics for civil society empowerment has had a busy year, with continuing development of Deflect, their flagship distributed denial of service (DDoS) mitigation service, available free as always and now including multi-language localisation for greater global accessibility. Check out their new and improved website, which nicely simplifies the sign-up process.

Building on this, has been actively at work on Deflect Labs, a powerful system of classification and analytics that identifies online attack patterns and timing, thereby increasing their cost and reducing the impunity of those who seek to silence voices online. CSOs, media and human rights organisations the world over are frequently targeted, stifling free expression, intimidating and systematically preventing information from being shared. Through Deflect Labs attack forensics and threat intelligence reports, aims to make aggression against civil society websites more expensive and less effective, and to peel away attackers’ impunity by enabling attribution.

In parallel, they are building outreach and security training initiatives by working with partners in Ukraine and Colombia on establishing digital security schools, offering support and education to local journalists, activists and researchers.

Deflect Labs will provide real-time and historical analytic tools, plus insight into DDoS attacks and botnets’ characteristics.

Image source:

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Hundreds of activists are safer online after engaging in digital security trainings

In 2017, APC trained over 130 human rights and women’s rights defenders, sexual rights activists, bloggers, journalists and teen girls to be safe online as a result of more than 13 training workshops organised by APC and its partners.

The Digital Security First Aid Kit for Human Rights Defenders, now in its second edition, was updated in 2016 and was used by our partners in 2017 to conduct digital security trainings in India, Pakistan and Malaysia as part of the Advocacy for Change through Technology in India, Malaysia and Pakistan (IMPACT) project.

As part of this same project, three digital security trainings were held in Malaysia and Pakistan: a training organised on 12 February 2017 for the Ismaili community in Hunza Valley, Pakistan, which was attended by 32 participants; a one-day security training for social workers from the Women’s Aid Organisation, held on 23 February 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, attended by 11 participants; and finally, a digital security workshop co-organised by APC and Access Now on 2-4 May 2017 in Malaysia for women’s human rights defenders, feminists, activists and media producers (bloggers, journalists and citizen reporters), which was attended by 12 participants.

A key strategy of the APC Women’s Rights Programme’s capacity-building approach is to build local and sustainable capacity and to respond to a growing demand for stronger and more integrated feminist capacity building. The FTX: Safety Reboot curriculum is slowly becoming a key tool in facilitating communities to share knowledge and values around representation and expression, and to build confidence and skills to be safe and effective in online spaces, and 2017 was a key year in this development. Collaboratively developed with feminist trainers in the field, the FTX: Safety Reboot curriculum has three modules to date, with five more planned for publication in 2018, framing digital security as an issue to build stronger and more resilient movements based on a wealth of experience and activities. The modules can be adapted, refined and localised for trainings in different contexts.

APC had various opportunities in 2017 to use and further develop modules during several workshops, including Safe Sister trainings in Kenya, workshops at the Gender and Technology Institute in Asia, and a workshop with 18 activists in Mexico City through the Centre for Digital Culture of the City, as well as through consultancies with Mama Cash, B-Change and the Urgent Action Fund. Learning activities from the FTX: Safety Reboot curriculum were also presented and tried out during the Creating Safe Online Spaces workshop at the Internet Freedom Festival 2017 in Valencia, Spain, in order to receive feedback from peer groups.

To watch out for: 2018 will see an FTX Convening which will focus on building a global network of trainers and facilitators familiar with the FTX: Safety Reboot approach and modules, able to adapt the curriculum to local contexts.

Image: Notes from the Making a Feminist Internet meeting in Malaysia in 2017 as captured by Fungai Machirori.

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More sustainable, collaborative and open source technology at APC

During 2017, APC increased its use of sustainable, open, non-commercial technology for its internal processes, including a new document repository through the self-hosted Nextcloud cloud system, a self-hosted secure pad for meeting documentation, the use of secure open source alternatives for meetings hosted by both APC and APC members, and sharing of data among the APC network using open standards and OpenPGP encryption.

Collaboration among APC members on technology development, data protection and online security was strengthened through, among others, involvement in a multi-partner initiative focused on building community-owned, privacy-respecting online infrastructure and services.

To watch out for: APC is planning to introduce more open source, secure and sustainable tools and services in the near future, and to share its experience with those who are interested. Specific plans for 2018 include an open source instant messaging and collaboration system and an online document editing platform, among others.

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APC community


The APC community of members, allies and partners are strengthened as a network and work collaboratively to use the internet and ICTs for social and environmental justice, gender equality and sustainable development.


A newly elected Board of Directors for the period 2017-2019

On 21 August 2017, 39 APC Council members cast their votes during the APC Member Meeting in Ithala, South Africa, and elected a new Board of Directors for the next three years. The composition of APC’s new Board of Directors is the following: Bishakha Datta, Point of View, India (chair); Leandro Navarro, Associació Pangea – Coordinadora Comunicació per a la Cooperació, Catalonia (vice-chair); Liz Probert, GreenNet, United Kingdom (secretary); Sylvie Siyam, PROTEGE QV, Cameroon (treasurer); Michel Lambert, Alternatives, Canada; Julián Casabuenas G., Colnodo, Colombia; Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation, India; and Chat Garcia Ramilo, APC, Philippines (executive director).

APC is proud to have a board with gender balance and representatives from all regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America). A balance was also achieved in terms of continuity, with three board members from the previous board retaining their positions (Julián Casasbuenas G., Liz Probert and Osama Manzar). The new board brings together wisdom, experience, freshness and enthusiasm to steer APC through the new phase that lies ahead.

The APC Board of Directors for the previous period (2014-2017) was comprised of: Julián Casabuenas G., Colnodo, Colombia (chair); Valentina Pellizzer, One World Platform, Bosnia and Herzegovina (vice-chair); Liz Probert, GreenNet, United Kingdom (secretary); Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation, India (treasurer); Anriette Esterhuysen, South Africa (executive director until April 2017); Chat Garcia Ramilo, Philippines (executive director after April 2017); Chim Manavy, Open Institute, Cambodia; John Dada, Fantsuam Foundation, Nigeria; and Lillian Nalwoga, CIPESA, Uganda. APC thanks the outgoing board members and acknowledges their efforts and excellent contributions towards strengthening the network during their tenure. You can learn more about the roles and responsibilities of APC’s Board and find out more about APC governance.

Image: Members of APC’s new Board of Directors, from left to right: Osama Manzar, Julián Casabuenas G., Liz Probert, Sylvie Siyam, Michel Lambert, Bishakha Datta, Chat Garcia Ramilo and Leandro Navarro.

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APC members engaged in network-wide initiatives and member collaborations

As in previous years, APC had active member involvement and collaboration in developing and implementing APC’s Theory of Change and strategic plan, with initiatives that contributed to building and strengthening cross-movement networks across the wider APC community and broader civil society engaged in internet policy, practice and development.

In 2017, APC partnered with members on organising several events, such as the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) 2017 (together with CIPESA from Uganda), the COCONET Southeast Asia Digital Rights Camp (together with EngageMedia from Indonesia) and the Digital Citizen Summit (together with Digital Empowerment Foundation from India).

APC also coordinated member participation in a number of large international forums, including the Internet Freedom Festival, Stockholm Internet Forum, RightsCon, WSIS Forum, and regional and global IGFs.

In relation to APC’s strategic area of work on access, two members were involved in the Local Access Networks project, Colnodo from Colombia and AlterMundi from Argentina, with Mexico-based member organisation Rhizomatica as one of the partners in the implementation of the project.

In the rights field, APC supported submissions by EMPOWER, Colnodo and One World Platform to the thematic report on online gender-based violence by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women.

Together with its members, APC engaged in the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, Human Rights Council processes, Universal Periodic Reviews, Human Rights Committee reviews, submissions to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ICANN, the UN Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation, the preparation of regional and global Internet Governance Forums and others.

To name just a few specific collaborations during the global IGF, Point of View from India and EMPOWER from Malaysia participated in the Best Practice Forum on Gender and Access, and Point of View and Foundation for Media Alternatives representatives were active members of the Gender Dynamic Coalition.

Specifically with Chilean member Derechos Digitales, APC participated in the Internet Is Ours Coalition.

APC also organised two capacity-building workshops for members and partners on engaging with regional and international human rights mechanisms.

In the strategic area of making a feminist internet, 17 members engaged in the 2017 Take Back the Tech! campaign, and a representative from APC member Derechos Digitales participated in the Making a Feminist Internet meeting in October 2017 in Malaysia.

In relation to governance, two APC members were involved in the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG), and APC supported the participation of feminist activists in panels at FIFAFrica 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa, while 26 members participated in the 2017 Global Information Society Watch edition.

Finally, 14 APC members joined the Alternative Infrastructure Initiative, which was jointly initiated in 2017 by Riseup, Aspiration Tech and APC.

To watch out for: We expect collaboration within APC to continue flourishing in 2018. The next round of APC subgrant support will specifically focus on collaborative projects in which several members are involved. Face-to-face planning during the five regional meetings to be held in 2018 will boost collaboration on the regional level, and some of APC’s key initiatives that promote member collaboration will continue in 2018 (GISWatch, the Local Access Networks project, the Take Back the Tech! campaign, collaboration in the area of sustainable technologies and others).

Image: Digital Citizen Summit organised by APC member Digital Empowerment Foundation from India.

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APC members receive highest ever support towards the implementation of our Theory of Change

Channelling resources to our network members has been a priority for APC since its inception. APC has done this in different ways, ranging from the Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) report to the Take Back the Tech! campaign, as well as Member Exchange and Travel Fund grants. In 2016, APC launched additional grants with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) aimed specifically at enabling members to contribute to achieving the impact objectives identified in APC’s Theory of Change for the period of 2016-2019.

The research and campaign grants support local campaigns that contribute to members’ advocacy work and are also meant to enable members to participate in APC-wide campaigns. To read more about the research and campaign grants in 2017 follow this link.

The grants for local implementation of APC’s strategic plan are for projects that contribute to the implementation of APC’s strategic priorities at the national level, and to strengthen ongoing work of APC members that is linked to APC’s strategic priorities. To read more about local implementation of APC’s strategic plan grants in 2017 follow this link.

During 2017, 19 APC members in 17 countries received 21 research, advocacy and project grants towards the implementation of APC’s strategic plan, with a total of USD 273,986 disbursed. In addition, APC provided support for members to participate in key events through 29 travel grants.

This level of member support is the highest ever provided by APC, and members have indicated that these grants have contributed to their work and capacity, as well as contributing to APC’s strategic priorities.

To watch out for: A new call for member grants will take place in 2018, and more members will receive financial support to carry out activities that will bring us ever closer to achieving APC’s strategic plan.

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APC network’s triennial face-to-face meeting in South Africa

“We are like a tree, with our members and network being branches that give off this fruit which seeds and grows new trees in the community.” (Mentioned during group work)

Getting all of APC’s members together is an opportunity to celebrate the work that has been done and strategise around the work still ahead. After APC’s last member meeting in Barcelona, Spain, in 2014, the APC network met again from 18 to 21 August in Ithala, South Africa, gathering 34 of APC’s 55 member organisations, as well as one individual member.

On 18 August, the first day of the member meeting, the participants joined together to discuss APC’s direction as a community, framed within APC’s strategic plan for 2016-2019, and our identity. The highlight of the second day of the meeting was when APC members and APC staff shared information about their projects and activities in what was called the “Museum of Moments”, while the third day featured sessions on networking and capacity building. The fourth and last day was the APC Council business day, when the APC Board of Directors and Executive Director Chat Garcia Ramilo reported back on different issues, including an overview of the implementation of the strategic plan to date, a discussion of APC policies, an overview of APC finances for the period 2014-2016, and reports on membership, grants and participation and collaboration.

During this four-day gathering, a total of 70 APC members and staff reviewed, discussed and renewed their commitment to APC’s theory of change and strategic priorities that guide our work through 2019.

Before and after this global member meeting, 11 smaller member meetings were organised alongside events attended by APC members, among them the Internet Freedom Festival in Valencia, RightsCon in Brussels, the Summit on Community Networks in Nairobi, the WSIS Forum in Geneva, the Stockholm Internet Forum in Stockholm, the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa in Johannesburg, the COCONET Southeast Asia Digital Rights Camp in Yogjakarta, the Asia-Pacific Regional IGF in Bangkok, the Latin American and Caribbean IGF in Panama City, and the Nonprofit Software Development Summit in San Francisco. A brief meeting was also organised during the global IGF in Geneva. In addition, a meeting of five European members was held in January 2017 through support from APC’s Member Exchange and Travel Fund, alongside the conference in Macedonia. This represents a significantly higher number of member gatherings than in previous years.

To watch out for: APC will host regional member meetings in 2018 that will strengthen and bring together our members around the crucial priorities in every region. Stay tuned as well for a new strategy and membership criteria to be completed in 2018.

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Greater outreach to APC’s community

Our main website,, which we redesigned to better reflect our organisational structure, strategy and overall goals, had 564,297 unique visitors and 964,083 visits during 2017. The highest peak happened between October and November, coinciding with the preparations and celebration of the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica), the UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators consultation and the publication of our previous Annual Report.

APC was cited by the media 150 times in 25 different countries and in seven languages (Spanish, French, English, Dutch, Russian, Portuguese and Japanese) and by 36 academic references. A prolific content partnership with Rising Voices increased the outreach of stories coming from APC members to a broader community of activists.

On social media, APC had a considerably more consistent Facebook presence than the year before, surpassing 6,000 followers by the end of 2017, which means 850 new followers were gained. Our main Twitter account, @apc_news, had 8,200 followers in English versus 6,120 followers the previous year, which amounts to 2,080 new followers gained in 2017. The highest peaks coincided with the IGF 2017, the launch of a global survey on sexual rights and the internet, and the UNESCO consultation on Internet Universality Indicators.

Our flagship Twitter account on campaigning for women’s rights online, @Takebackthetech, had 6,188 followers at end of 2017, which reflects 1,191 new followers gained over the course of the year, with the highest peak coinciding with the “Distributed Denial of Women”, an online strike of women working in tech.

APC reached its 270th newsletter, with a total of 13 editions of APCNews sent in 2017 (in English and Spanish). launched four special editions of its newsletter, including one highlighting the findings of the EROTICS research – carried out in three countries in South Asia – and the EROTICS global survey of sexuality and internet activists. APC also launched a new thematic newsletter focusing on community networks, with the first edition sent in December 2017.

To watch out for: A communications welcome kit dedicated to our network members, especially new organisational and individual members who need to know how to easily navigate APC online spaces, will be produced in 2018. Also stay tuned for a trilingual newsletter featuring a mash-up of our content in different languages.

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Inside the Information Society: Two years now, evolving with the internet

Looking back or looking forward? was the title of the first piece in David Souter’s column on, Inside the Information Society, published more than two years ago. Inspired by this question, the blog has continued to feature articles – 28 in total in 2017 – on issues ranging from internet governance and sustainable development to workers’ rights, trade, post-conflict reconstruction, community networks, the role of intermediaries in promoting rights, the internet of things, the future of the IGF, privacy in the context of Facebook’s leaks… all with a cross-cutting human rights and ICTs approach.

“Five years ago, my daily newspaper might have carried one or two stories or features on the Information Society that were relevant each day. Now there’ll probably be at least five or six, sometimes ten,” Souter wrote in his 2017 piece “What’s next?”, also mentioning the change in tone: “There’s more skepticism about the Information Society now than there was five years ago; more uncertainty; more anxiety. People are as concerned now about what might go wrong (in their eyes) as they’re excited by what might go right.”

For two years now, the Inside the Information Society column has been asking about what’s happening in this rapidly changing environment, and questioning the assumptions that underpin our thinking, with the aim of encouraging debate. Souter’s pieces take a fresh look at issues that concern APC, its members, and the wider ICT community, which in 2017 included the entries available here.

To watch out for: In 2018, the Inside the Information Society column will continue raising issues that concern APC and its members and provoking debate.

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Pangea has a brand new communication strategy

In 2017 went through a process of refreshing its image and improving its communication methods, towards its members and the world. As a part of this process, the association’s website has been renewed: the new one has a modern and clearer image and a new structure to facilitate access to information. A new blog has been started to spread information not only about their work but also about subjects related to information and communications technologies, social and solidarity economy and social justice that affect society. has made an effort to explain the difference between “free” services offered by large multinational companies and the ones offered by and other organisations of our local social economy. They made a video, in collaboration with some of their members, with the message “On the internet, a free product means you are the product.” This video and the campaign launched with it focus on the values behind our work (solidarity, equity, justice, sustainability, fair trade…), to highlight their unique traits and thus capture the interest of new potential members.

Pangea has also been busy migrating from ownCloud to Nextcloud and introducing new apps to improve their services.

Image source: Pangea.

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Record growth of the APC network

The APC network keeps growing! At the end of 2017, APC had 58 organisational members working in 61 countries, compared to 51 members in 60 countries in 2016, while the individual membership stayed at 28 members.

Nine new organisational members and two new individual members joined the APC network in 2017. This represents a record growth in one year, and reflects an increasing interest in APC membership.A highly engaged network participated in specific projects and in network-wide activities, implemented collaborations, provided input to policy advocacy processes, and took part in global and regional convenings and in capacity-building initiatives that contributed to the implementation of APC’s strategic priorities.

To watch out for: APC will hold its biennial regional member meetings in 2018, and organise several smaller member meetings at major events attended by the APC community.

Image: Conversation during the 2017 APC member meeting in South Africa, as captured by Arturo Bregaglio.

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Individual member highlights

APC opened up membership to individual members in 2012, and was joined by seven that first year. By December 2017, there were 28 individual members in the APC network, from 25 countries. To learn more about, and from, our individual members, we asked them two questions:

What was the most important learning you got from the APC network during 2017?

What was the best technology-related reading you came across in 2017?



Andrew Garton


That APC continues to support and encourage diversity within its membership and with this it encourages one knowing that together we have greater sway than if we were out there by ourselves.


The David Souter series (“Inside the Information Society”, a weekly column on is by far the most fascinating reading I’ve had via APC.

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Japleen Pasricha

Japleen Pasricha


I found the article Editatonas: “I edit, therefore I am” really insightful. I liked this article because it delves into why women are intimidated by technology and how imposed gendered roles do not let women have that kind of time to delve into voluntary projects like Wikipedia.



Leonardo Maccari

Leonardo Maccari


The content of APC’s community networks newsletter is what interested me most. In practice, being involved in community networks in many ways (as an activist and as a researcher), I like to have one source of information that overviews how these networks are evolving with time, around the world.


Generally speaking, I am an ICT researcher, so I read tons of papers and I can’t name one. Due to APC, it could be the newsletter itself, and/or some of the related readings (for instance, about spectrum).

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Poncelet Ileleji

Poncelet Ileleji


Policy work, especially work at the global level involving the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and internet governance consultations.


A blog post published in David Souter’s column on in April: Inside the Information Society: The impact of the Internet on democratic politics.

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Rafik Dammak

Rafik Dammak


Updates on Human Rights Council (HRC) work are always welcome and helpful, as it is not easy to follow the activities of the council. Also, sending or working with other organisations to submit letters or statements to the HRC. I am also discovering community networks and the work being done around them.


I think Weapons of Math Destruction, as it is an easy book on algorithmic accountability and social issues related to the usage of artificial intelligence (AI) for decision making and how it impacts people’s lives.

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William Drake

William Drake


I have mostly been working on issues related to data localisation, global data flows, and trade, about which I’m now writing for the World Economic Forum (WEF). In lieu of a more directly relevant answer, I can point you to the internet governance book I did for APC in December 2016. I think there’s some pretty good material in there.

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Below are just a few of the many publications published by APC in 2017. For a comprehensive list see our 2017 Publications page.


“Let the mob do the job”: How proponents of hatred are threatening freedom of expression and religion online in Asia


A history of feminist engagement with development and digital technologies


Due diligence and accountability for online violence against women


EROTICS South Asia exploratory research: Sex, rights and the internet


Global Information Society Watch 2017 special edition: Unshackling expression – A study on laws criminalising expression online in Asia


Global Information Society Watch 2017: National and Regional Internet Governance Forum Initiatives (NRIs)


Human rights and the internet: The key role of national human rights institutions in protecting human rights in the digital age


The impact of the internet on human rights in Africa


In 2017 APC had a total of 86 organisational and individual members.

Organisation OrganisationIndividual Individual


In 2017, APC had 58 organisational members active in 38 countries.


Middle East and North Africa

Individual members

In 2017, APC had 28 individual members in 25 countries.


  • Roxana Goldstein


  • Andrew Garton
  • Ian W. Peter
  • Lisa Gye


  • AHM Bazlur Rahman


  • Renata Aquino Ribeiro
  • Vera Vieira


  • Stephane Couture


  • Mario Morales Rincón

Congo, Republic of

  • Patience Luyeye

Czech Republic

  • Jan Malík


  • Melaku Girma


  • Poncelet Ileleji


  • Jeanette Hofmann


  • Serge Ziehi


  • Japleen Pasricha


  • Leonardo Maccari


  • Inam Ali


  • Gayathry Venkiteswaran


  • Rolf Kleef


  • Eiko Kawamura


  • Makane Faye

South Africa

  • Towela Nyirenda-Jere


  • William Drake


  • Rafik Dammak


  • Helen Nyinakiiza

United States

  • Avri Doria


  • Natasha Msonza


Board of directors

Until August 2017

  • Julián Casasbuenas, Colnodo, Colombia (chair)
  • Valentina Pellizzer, One World Platform, Bosnia and Herzegovina (vice-chair)
  • Liz Probert, GreenNet, United Kingdom (secretary)
  • Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation, India (treasurer)
  • John Dada, Fantsuam Foundation, Nigeria
  • Lillian Nalwoga, CIPESA, Uganda
  • Anriette Esterhuysen, APC, South Africa (executive director)

New Board of Directors from August 2017

  • Bishakha Datta, Point of View, India (chair)
  • Leandro Navarro, Pangea, Spain (vice-chair)
  • Liz Probert, GreenNet, United Kingdom (secretary)
  • Sylvie Siyam, PROTEGE QV, Cameroon (treasurer)
  • Michel Lambert, Alternatives, Canada
  • Julián Casabuenas, Colnodo, Colombia
  • Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation, India
  • Chat Garcia Ramilo, APC, Philippines (executive director)

Council representatives

7amleh – Arab Center for Social Media Advancement

Nadim Nashef
Rosalin Hussary


Nicolás Echániz
Nicolás Pace


Michel Lambert
Catherine Pappas

Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN)

James Nguo

Asociación Trinidad Comunicación, Cultura y Desarrollo

Arturo Bregaglio
Mirian Sánchez

AZUR Développement

Sylvie Niombo
Victorine Diaboungana

Bangladesh Friendship Education Society (BFES)

Reza Salim
Tahmina Ferdousy

Pavel Antonov
Eva Stoyanova

Bytesforall, Bangladesh

Partha Sarker
Munir Hasan

Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)

Yunusa Yau
Asabe Mohammed

Código Sur

Nikole Yanez Amaya
San Hoerth

Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)

Lillian Nalwoga
Wairagala Wakabi


Julián Casasbuenas G.
Ariel Barbosa

Computer Aid International (CAI)

Keith Sonnet

Derechos Digitales

María Paz Canales
Vladimir Garay

Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF)

Osama Manzar
Shaifali Chikermane


Andrew Lowenthal
Yerry Borang

Maja Romano

Fantsuam Foundation

John Dada
Seyi Eseyin-Johnson

Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)

Lisa Garcia
Alan G. Alegre


Roger Baig Viñas

Fundación Escuela Latinoamericana de Redes (EsLaRed)

Edmundo Vitale
Lourdes GdP

Fundación REDES para el Desarrollo Sostenible

José Eduardo Rojas
Miriam Rojas


Liz Probert
Cedric Knight

Instituto DEMOS

Anabella Rivera Godoy
Yesenia Sagastume


Veridiana Alimonti
Jonas Valente

Japan Computer Access for Empowerment (JCAFE)

Onoda Mitoye


Hamada Tadahisa (Taratta)



Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)

Grace Githaiga
Alice Munyua

Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet

Byoung-il Oh
Eun-jung Choi (Yaping Dyung)


Steve Zeltzer

May First/People Link

Alfredo Lopez
Francia Gutierrez

Media Matters for Democracy (MmfD)

Sadaf Khan
Asad Baig

Metamorphosis Foundation

Bardhyl Jashari
Tamara Resavska


Manal Hassan

Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO)

Htaike Htaike Aung
Yatanar Htun

Nodo TAU

Florencia Roveri
Eduardo Rodríguez

Núcleo de Pesquisas, Estudos e Formação (Nupef)

Carlos Alfonso
Oona Castro

One World Platform

Valida Hromadžić

Open Institute

Javier Sola


Leandro Navarro
Lorena Merino

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

Angela Kuga Thas
Serene Lim

Point of View

Bishakha Datta
Anja Kovacs


Sylvie Siyam
Avis Momeni


Peter Bloom
Erick Huerta


Elijah Sparrow
Danae Tapia

Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT)

Nthabeleng Mzizi
Kenneth Thlaka

Social Media Exchange (SMEX)

Jessica Dheere
Mohamad Najem

Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment (SPACE)

Arun Madhavan Pillai
Raji P R

Strawberrynet Foundation

Rozi Bakó
Misi Bakó

Sulá Batsú

Kemly Camacho
Vivian Zuñiga

Thai Netizen Network

Arhit Suriyawongkul

Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE)

Ahmed Swapan
Farjana Akter

Web Networks

Jared Jean
Greg MacKenzie

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)

Dorothy Okello
Moses Owiny


Sharron Marco-Thyse
Tina Thiart

Zenzeleni Networks – Mankosi

Lwando Mdleleni


  • Executive director: Anriette Esterhuysen, South Africa (until April)
  • Executive director: Chat Garcia Ramilo, Philippines (from 17 April)
  • Network and membership building coordinator: Karel Novotný, Czech Republic
  • Sub-granting programme coordinator: Roxana Bassi, Argentina (May to December)

  • Finance manager: Maya Sooka, South Africa
  • Senior finance officer: Fatima Bhyat, South Africa

  • Operations director: Karen Banks, Australia/United Kingdom (from 17 April)
  • Logistics coordinator: Shawna Finnegan, Canada
  • Administrative officer: Eunice Mwesigwa, South Africa
  • Technical support assistant: Adolfo Dunayevich Garber, Mexico
  • Technical specialist: Mallory Knodel, United States/Kenya
  • Human resource and finance officer: Misty McWilliam, United States***

  • Communications manager: Flavia Fascendini, Argentina
  • Communications officer: Leila Nachawati Rego, Spain
  • Language coordinator: Lori Nordstrom, Uruguay
  • Publications and multimedia coordinator: Cathy Chen, India (from July)
  • French editor: Olga Tsafack, United States (from March)***

  • Director – Policy and Strategy: Anriette Esterhuysen, South Africa (17 April – December)
  • Senior project coordinator – Global internet policy and advocacy: Deborah Brown (from March 2017)
  • Avri Doria, United States*
  • Maud Barret Bertelloni (June to December)**

  • CIPP manager: Valeria Betancourt, Ecuador
  • GISWatch editor: Alan Finlay, Argentina***
  • GISWatch project coordinator: Roxana Bassi, Argentina
  • IMPACT project coordinator: Gayatri Khandhadai, India
  • IMPACT project assistant: Pavitra Ramanujam, India
  • Internet access specialist: Mike Jensen, Brazil
  • Africa ICT policy coordinator: Sekoetlane Jacob Phamodi, South Africa (until Octorber)
  • Community access networks project coordinator: Carlos Rey-Moreno, South Africa (from August)
  • Community access networks project administration and research assistant: Kathleen Diga, South Africa (from October)
  • Senior project coordinator – Global internet policy and advocacy: Deborah Brown, United States (until March 2017)

  • WRP manager: Jac sm Kee, Malaysia
  • WRP global women’s rights policy lead: Janine Moolman, South Africa
  • WRP capacity building lead: Jennifer Radloff, South Africa
  • WRP knowledge building lead: Katerina Fialova, Czech Republic
  • WRP TBTT Mexico coordinator: Erika Smith, Mexico
  • coordinator: Namita Aavriti, India
  • Spanish language coordinator: Dafne Plou, Argentina
  • TBTT campaign coordinator: Sara Baker, United States
  • Women’s rights project coordinator: Valentina Pellizzer, Bosnia and Herzegovinia
  • Women’s rights project coordinator: Fungai Machirori, Zimbabwe (April to October)
  • TBTT and evaluation intern: Chen Shaua Fui, Hungary (January to August)***

* Volunteer

** Intern

*** Consultant on retainer


Financial supporters

  • AmplifyChange (agreement administered by Mannion Daniels Ltd.)
    • Building EROTICS Networks in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Directorate of Development Cooperation (DGIS) FLOW II Fund via Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action (CREA)
    • All Women Count!
  • European Union, European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)
    • Networking for freedom online and offline: Protecting freedom of information, expression and association on the internet in India, Malaysia and Pakistan
  • Fidelity Charitable
    • General support for APC Women’s Rights Programme 2016-2017
  • Ford Foundation
    • Support to research a feminist perspective on internet policy issues and build cross-movement collaboration with women’s rights groups in the global South
    • Core support for internet rights and gender justice and institutional strengthening
    • Regional Advocacy on Telecommunications Policy in the Americas
  • International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
    • Community Access Networks: How to connect the next billion to the internet
    • Mapping Gender and the Information Society
  • Mama Cash
    • Feminism and Technology: Politics and Safety
    • Making a Feminist internet
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
    • Core support for the APC Strategic Action Plan 2016-2019
  • Wellspring Philanthropic Fund (WPF)
    • General support for the APC Women’s Rights Programme 2017-2108
  • Womanity Foundation
    • Adapt Take Back The Tech! in Mexico: Challenge norms, build awareness, amplify collective power, strengthen response
  • B-Change Technology
    • Training workshop on online privacy and security
  • EngageMedia
    • Implementation of the Southeast Asia Digital Rights Camp – COCONET
  • Institute of International Education (IIE) (Ford Foundation grant via IIE)
    • Training workshop ahead of the Internet Governance Forum 2017 focused on the Universal Periodic Review, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the use of regional and global human rights instruments.
  • Internet Policy Observatory
    • Decriminalisation of expression online in Cambodia and Thailand
  • e.V. (BMZ project number 2016.0162.4)
    • IGF Academy: Fostering freedom of expression through the creation of inclusive and transparent national internet governance and policy processes – Internet Governance Forum 2017 workshops
  • South African Communications Forum
    • African DNS Study
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
    • Defining Internet Universality Indicators
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Gender and Justice Division
    • Workshops on gender-based violence in social networks in Mexico
  • Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID); Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice; Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action (CREA); FRIDA – The Young Feminist Fund; Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (UAFWHR)
    • Contribution towards participation for Making A Feminist Internet: Movement Building in a Digital Age, Malaysia
  • Access Now
    • Contribution towards Disco-tech during the Internet Governance Forum 2017
    • Contribution towards African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG)
  • ARTICLE 19
    • Contribution towards Disco-tech Logistical Security Meeting during the Internet Governance Forum 2017
  • Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
    • Contribution towards Global Information Society Watch 2017
  • Facebook, Google, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Public Interest Registry
    • Contribution towards African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG)
  • African Union Commission; National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Egypt); New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Women’sNet
    • Support to AfriSIG through direct sponsorship of specific costs
  • IFEX
    • Contribution towards Disco-tech during the Internet Governance Forum 2017
  • Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia)
    • Contribution towards Global Information Society Watch 2017
  • Internet Society (ISOC)
    • Contribution towards African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG)
    • Contribution towards Disco-tech during the Internet Governance Forum 2017
    • Contribution towards Global Information Society Watch 2017
  • Oak Foundation
    • Discretionary small grant for the APC Women’s Rights Programme
  • Small Media Foundation
    • Contribution towards Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica), Johannesburg
    • Editing and presentation of Advocacy Assembly course

APC financial statements for 2017

Balance Sheet at 31 December 2017

2017(USD) 2016(USD)
ASSETS 1,120,644 1,291,397
Non-current assets 2 2
Equipment 2 2
Current assets 1,120,642 1,291,395
Accounts receivable 58,440 157,442
Accrued income – grants 131,987 183,689
Cash and cash equivalents 930,215 950,264
TOTAL ASSETS 1,120,644 1,291,397
RESERVES AND LIABILITIES 1,120,644 1,291,397
Reserves and sustainability funds 385,236 477,429
Sustainability funds 348,782 447,496
Retained income 36,454 29,933
Current liabilities 735,408 813,968
Accounts payable 112,824 85,296
Deferred income from grants 563,523 692,076
Provision for leave pay 59,061 36,596

Income Statement for the year ended 31 December 2017

2017(USD) 2016(USD)
INCOME 3,098,712 2,696,117
Grants 2,843,531 2,435,064
Earned Income 255,181 261,053
      Commissioned services, contributions and event income 213,138 235,862
      Interest 324 333
      Membership fees 24,845 24,858
      Sales and sundry 16,874
EXPENDITURE 3,190,905 2,665,770
Governance, Programme Development, Monitoring and Evaluation and Administration 668,467 464,112
Communications 177,954 161,083
Technical Unit 114,606 65,871
Network Development Unit 351,468 403,618
Communications and Information Policy Programme 897,762 1,268,278
Global Advocacy and Policy Strategy 206,598
Women’s Rights Programme 774,051 302,808

Note: Detailed information is available in the audited financial statements for 2017.