Chapters

How to Use Digital Technologies to Foster Freedom of Expression and Information

The South2South Manifesto

We stand for using digital technologies to foster freedom of expression and information – a fundamental right enshrined in Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Freedom of expression in countries of the Global South is challenged by undemocratic regimes, human rights abuses, inequality, poverty, corruption, surveillance, lack of access to information, poor media literacy and high costs of internet and communication services. However, we believe digital technologies can be used in innovative, ethical, democratic, inclusive and collaborative ways to solve problems and improve people’s lives.

We believe that in order to foster freedom of expression and information, individuals, government, media and other organisations should observe the South2South principles when designing, developing and implementing projects using digital technologies.

The manifesto was produced during the South2South Media Dialogue in Cape Town, hosted by DW Akademie and IAJ, in November 2014.

The authors call upon those who use the South2South Manifesto to share this document and participate in its evolution.

Manifesto

1. STRATEGY

Develop long-term strategies to establish and protect freedom of expression

Recommendations

  • Analyse the state of freedom of expression and how authorities enforce laws
  • Build partnerships and networks dedicated to freedom of expression
  • Use accurate and appropriate indicators to plan, develop and evaluate projects
  • Develop and adapt digital technologies to meet changing conditions and needs
  • Be transparent with sources and conditions of funding

2. INTEGRATION

Combine digital technologies and traditional forms of communication to foster freedom of expression.

Recommendations

  • Respect existing forms of community dialogue and media, and where possible, integrate them into digital projects
  • Support communities using digital technology in a form they can use and afford
  • Adhere to democratic principles and equal rights to expression
  • Offer equal access to media: “Think of the last person first”
  • Respect individual privacy and make digital security a priority

3. SUSTAINABILITY

Develop innovative ways of making projects sustainable and independent

Recommendations

  • Strive for shared and diversified ownership of projects
  • Find partners and appropriate sources of funding that do not hinder independence
  • Explore multiple models of financing to sustain projects beyond the duration of external funding
  • Think about generating revenue from the beginning of a project
  • Use freeware, open source tools and “hacker communities” to be cost-effective

4. OPENNESS

Facilitate our right to know

Recommendations

  • Advocate for freedom of information and transparency laws
  • Develop open standards
  • Provide universal access to technology
  • Raise civic awareness of data uses through online and offline campaigns and training
  • Share digital information in accessible formats

5. DATA FOR PUBLIC INTEREST

Request, collate, analyse and share data in a way that everyone can use and connect people with the information they need

Recommendations

  • Simplify, explain and visualise data to make it understandable
  • Create, publish, distribute and share stories from collected data
  • Include meta-data to make digital materials easier to search, use and adapt
  • Be creative and use transmedia formats to visualise, publish and share data
  • Develop best practices for sourcing, collating and analysing data

6. PARTICIPATION

Use participatory methods to strengthen freedom of expression and information

Recommendations

  • Include target communities and audiences in planning, development, implementation and evaluation of projects
  • Ensure the space for participation is safe and allows for open expression
  • Make use of existing tools, methods and platforms to encourage participation
  • Provide digital literacy training to enable broader community participation
  • Support the right to start your own digital platform
  • Engage and sensitize politicians and public officials to acknowledge their obligations and accountability to their communities

7. SKILLS SHARING

Share knowledge and experiences between digital project practitioners

Recommendations

  • Use multiple methods and platforms for sharing knowledge and skills
  • Promote both online and offline activities for sharing knowledge and skills
  • Explore platforms for sharing ebooks, research papers and open source software
  • Create a digital bank for storing and exchanging open data files
  • Share directories of media organisations
  • Mentor colleagues through online platforms
  • Organise offline activities such as workshops and events at universities and schools and share results online
  • Inform and educate people through existing media such as TV, radio and newspapers

Commitment

The undersigned authors pledge their commitment to adhere to the South2South Manifesto and to encourage others to observe its principles.

This Manifesto is open for discussion. Comment below or help edit the Manifesto in our living document

ahmadAhmad Al-Bazz
Editor, Dooz, Palestinian Territories

pinkiePenhleak (Pinkie) Chan
Managing Editor, Open Development Cambodia, Cambodia

ShuShubhransu Choudhary
Founder, CGNet Swara, India

GuyGuy Degen
DW Akademie

wouterWouter Dijkstra
Founder and Director, TRAC FM, Uganda

nooraNoora Flinkman
Head of Marketing and Communications Unit, HarassMap, Egypt

alejandraAlejandra Gutiérrez Valdizán
Editor-in-Chief, Plaza Pública, Guatemala

kate2Kate Hairsine
DW Akademie

bektourBektour Iskender
Founder, Kloop, Kyrgyz Republic

toufiqueToufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director, bdnews24.com, Bangladesh

fionaFiona Macleod
Founder and Editor, Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism, South Africa

steffenSteffen Leidel
DW Akademie

nigelNigel Mugamu
Founder and CEO, 263Chat, Zimbabwe

dickieDickens Olewe
Founder of AfricanSkyCAM and Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, Kenya & USA

OscarOscar Parra Castellanos
Founder and Editor, Rutas del Conflicto, Colombia

momiAngelica (Momi) Peralta Ramos
Multimedia Development Manager and Project Manager of La Nación Data, La Nación, Argentina

fabiolaFabiola Torres Lopéz
Co-Founder and Reporter, Ojo Público, Peru

About the South2South Manifesto

The South2South Manifesto was developed during a four-day media dialogue that focused on how to best use digital technologies to foster freedom of expression and information in countries of the Global South.

The media dialogue was hosted by DW Akademie (Germany) and IAJ (South Africa) and brought together journalists, activists and media development specialists from 14 countries to exchange knowledge and ideas.

Through a series of moderated discussions and idea-generating workshops, the 14 delegates produced seven core principles for fostering freedom of expression and information. Each principle is accompanied by recommendations for individuals and organisations to consider when using digital technologies to foster freedom of expression and information.

You can find out more the manifesto website URL and participate in its evolution via the Twitter hashtag #s2smanifesto.

Cape Town, 2015

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