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The Internet Governance in the Middle East and North Africa Program (iGmena) was created by the international development organization Hivos, which that brings voices together from the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region on Internet governance and policies.
iGmena focuses on safeguarding Internet freedoms in the MENA region. The program aims to ensure that the freedoms of thought and expression are protected online, digital rights and access to information are codified in legislation and policy across the MENA region, and trains civic actors from the region in order to improve their knowledge on Internet governance and Internet policy.
Launched in 2012 in response to the importance of the Internet during the "Arab Spring," and the limited amount of legal framework for Internet freedoms that exist in many MENA countries, iGmena believes in ensuring freedom of expression and information within MENA countries, and that Internet governance should include government, technical experts, civil society, and business representatives, and aims to attract wider participation from a wide-ranging number of civil society individuals, including bloggers, journalists, students, and public sector employees. It encourages those individuals to come together, share knowledge, and create national and regional action plans.
Through Hivos, iGmena also partners with a number of international and regional institutions to accomplish its goals.
Objective & Actions
iGmena's two main objectives are:
- Improved knowledge on Internet governance in the MENA region
- Building stakeholder capacity on the Internet Governance process by conducting awareness-raising activities both on-site and online
- Empowering stakeholders to take the lead in advancing Internet policy agendas in their countries and to be engaged in regional policy dialogue at the Arab Internet Governance Forum, as well as global discussion at the IGF.
- Enhanced Legislation on Internet Policies in the MENA region
- Raising stakeholder awareness on how to influence the decision-making process and play an active role in promoting and safeguarding local Internet freedoms
- Drafting Internet-related policies through a participatory approach that engages multiple stakeholders
To meet those two objectives, iGmena focuses on the three areas of technology, policy & advocacy, and capacity building by preparing civic actors to take the lead in advocating for online human rights and Internet policy, while working closely with other concerned stakeholders.
Internet Policy Analyst (IPA) Project
A grassroots initiative, the Internet Policy Analyst (IPA) project is led by authors from the MENA region who will support current developments specific to Internet policy and governance in their respective countries. The Internet Policy Analysis initiative is designed to meet the increasing demand and expertise on Internet governance and policy in the MENA region specifically on issues such as freedom of expression, data protection and privacy, censorship and surveillance. The intention is to expand to other relevant themes to the MENA region n the future. The project will initially cover five countries: Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, and Iraq. It will expand at a later stage to include more countries from the region. Authors who would like to publish their research or investigate specific themes are encouraged to join the project. A number of published articles can be found via iGmena's online portal, found here.
Internet Legislation Atlas (ILA)
Internet Legislation Atlas (ILA) is a pilot project of iGmena that assesses and visualizes the level of compliance of selected digital rights vis-à-vis international human rights standards in seven MENA countries: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Tunisia. The project examines the legal frameworks that govern the Internet in the region, and focuses on the level of protection afforded particularly to freedom of expression and the right to privacy. ILA is a project by Hivos and ARTICLE 19 in cooperation with ASL19 (Iran), Support for Information Technology Center (Egypt), Iraqi Network for Social Media (Iraq), ATA (Jordan), Maharat Foundation (Lebanon and Syria), and Amor Boubakri (independent consultant, Tunisia).
- About, iGmena.org. Retrieved 2016 March 24.
- IPA The Internet Policy Analyst (IPA) An Internet Grassroots Policy Project, iGmena.org. Retrieved 2016 March 24.