Plans in top gear for the 10th edition of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum  (DRIF23)


Plans are in top gear for the 10th Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF23) in Nairobi, with key speakers confirming attendance for the event, which takes place between April 12th to 14th, 2023.

The forum will be graced by Emma Inamutila Theofelus, Namibia Deputy Minister for Information Communication & Technology (ICT); Grace Githaiga Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & Convenor, KICTANet; ‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative; Vladimir Garay, Advocacy Director, Derechos Digitales, and Lawrence Murugu Mute, former Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (2017-2020) and former Vice Chairperson of the African Commission on human and people’s rights (2017-2019). 

At the same time, more than 500 delegates have registered for the Pan-African bilingual event that will be held at the Sarova Stanley Hotel. Paradigm Initiative will be hosting key partners from the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) established under Strathmore University, Internews, the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), Inclusive Tech Group, Defend Defenders, Youth and Society, Tech Societal, the Global Network Initiative, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) Regional Office for Southern Africa, MTN and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law, to mention a few.

PIN, which is a leading Pan-African Digital Rights and Inclusion organization, has convened DRIF since 2013. The forum, whose theme is  Building A Sustainable Internet For All, will bring together representatives from government, legislature, civil society, non-governmental organizations, academia, policymakers, the technical community, and the private sector within the digital ecosystem.

The 2023 in-person forum will be hosted in collaboration with Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) and other PIN partners. KICTANet is a multi-stakeholder think tank in Kenya for ICT policy and regulation. So far, the event sponsors are the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ford Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation, Google, and the Global Network Initiative (GNI).

The forum will host 70 sessions from partners in 23 countries across the world. Sessions will focus on, among other themes, Internet shutdowns, Universal Service Fund utilization, data protection, content moderation, and censorship. Also lined up at the event are key launches of research, platforms, and networks.

Ms. Thobekile Matimbe, PIN’s Senior Manager, Partnerships and Engagements, said the confirmed speakers and number of delegates who have registered for the event is a clear pointer of the importance of the forum.

“The interest the forum has received so far from speakers and delegates worldwide clearly shows the event is timely and necessary. We look forward to hosting delegates and hope the exciting launches and deliberations will empower all stakeholders to do their part in the advancement of Internet freedom,” she added.

Last year’s DRIF under the theme, Towards a Digitally Inclusive Africa, was a hybrid event that was able to reach 1,300 individuals. Physical sessions were hosted in 17 African countries.

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