Centre for Internet & Society

The Centre for Internet and Society (India) and the Central American Institute for Studies of Social Democracy DEMOS (Guatemala) have the pleasure to invite you to a day-long workshop on the role of the Internet in fostering freedom of expression and strengthening activism in India. The workshop will take place in the Constitution Club in Delhi on 4 March 2011.

With the significant role reported for new technologies in recent revolutions in Tunesia, Egypt, and elsewhere, activists in India, too, have taken a renewed interest in the potential of the Internet to support their struggles for social change and social justice. But what are some of the potential stumble blocks activists in India might run into in their exploration of the Internet's potential? What are the legal restrictions and frameworks activists should be aware of when they use new technologies in their work? And what can we do to create an environment in which the online world unequivocally supports efforts for greater democratisation and social justice offline, rather than thwart them?

It is questions such as these that this workshop seeks to answer, through a mix of panel discussions, unconference sessions, a film screening, and technical and legal clinics in its day-long program.

Our hope is that the workshop will help participants as well as organisers to get a stronger sense of the potential and challenges of online activism in the particular context of India, as well as to start building stronger networks among the activists interested in these issues in the country.

Participation in the workshop is free. However, we would be grateful if you could confirm your attendance by emailing Anja Kovacs at "anja at cisindia dot org", ideally by 2 March.

We hope you will join us to contribute your own insights and experiences as well as to learn from others about this important new arena of activists' work.

Looking forward to welcoming you at the workshop!

The Agenda


9.30-9.45:    Welcome and introductions

9.45-10.15:   Introduction to the Internet and freedom of expression
                    By Frank La Rue, President of the Central American Institute for Studies of Social Democracy
                    and UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and Opinion

10.15-10.45: Film screening: “Brave New Medium”
                    By Delhi-based docu film maker Subasri Krishnan
                    The film addresses Internet and censorship in South-East Asia
                    while raising  pertinent questions about the implications of this lessons for Indian activists,
                    and will be screened in the presence of the filmmaker. 

10.45-11.30: Unconference: Online challenges and ways forward for Indian activists:
                    where are we today and what to do next?
                    Small group discussion sessions, as per the priorities of the participants

11.30-11.50: Tea/Coffee Break

11.50-12.40: Reporting back and plenary discussion: Challenges for freedom of expression on
                    the Internet in India and abroad: legal framework, ground realities, alternative visions 
                    With national and international activists, lawyers and researchers as additional resource persons

12.40-13.00: Consultation: Can a global “Internet Bill of Rights” help?
                    With Lisa Horner, Dynamic Coalition on Internet Rights and Principles of the UN Internet
                    Governance Forum

13.00 - 14.00: Lunch Break (lunch will be provided)
14.00 - 15.30: Parallel sessions:
  • legal clinic with a representative from Google and human rights lawyers – to answer any legal question regarding freedom of expression online you may have
  • technical clinic with a representative from Tactical Tech – to explore the significance of terms like
    “Tor” and “proxy” and ways in which you can stay safe and secure online at all times. 
    If you have a laptop, bring it if you intend to attend this session!
15.30 - 16.15: Strategies for the way forward
                      Moderated by Mr Frank La Rue
16.15-16.30  : Closing remarks
16.30 - 17.00: Tea/Coffee
Followed by a public lecture by Mr. Frank La Rue at 6 pm, at the same venue, on Global Challenges to Freedom of Expression. Entrance free. All welcome.

Information about the Organisers

The Centre for Internet and Society

The Centre for Internet and Society is located in Bangalore, India. It critically engages with concerns of digital pluralism and public accountability in the field of Internet and Society, with particular emphasis on South-South dialogues and exchange. Through multidisciplinary research, intervention, and collaboration, it seeks to explore, understand, and affect the shape and form of the internet, and its relationship with the political, cultural, and social milieu of our times.

DEMOS Institute

The Demos Institute, based in Guatemala, is a research centre that promotes democratic alternatives for Guatemala, under the human rights framework. Within DEMOS, there is a research team which supports the mandate of Frank La Rue, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, in the making of his annual reports before the United Nations Human Rights Council.