Human Rights & Freedoms
Non-discrimination in the Digital Space
Mikhail Klimarev, Internet Protection Society, Russia Galina Arapova, Media Defence Center, Russia Roman Dobrokhotov, The Insider, Russia Nedim Useinow, Article19, UK
Media Defence Center
Targets: In times of crisis, as authorities seek to limit their own citizens from reliable information, the availability of global platforms for users, activists, and free media is critical. Uniform policies for providing access to digital platforms promote a non-discriminatory approach, as outlined in SDG
Since the onset of the full-scale war in Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions against Russia, numerous technology companies have withdrawn from Russia, closing offices, distribution, services, and helpdesk operations. Despite the U.S. Treasury Department's General License #25, companies continue to distance themselves from Russia. These sanctions have yet to yield significant results, and the indiscriminate disconnection of Russian users seems to only fuel the war effort. Feeling abandoned, these users are increasingly siding with Russian authorities and turning to less-free Russian digital alternatives, hastening the emergence of a digital iron curtain. The departure of foreign IT companies and platforms plays into the hands of the authorities seeking to build a completely isolated segment of the Internet. Independent media and bloggers could have been a powerful force to counter censorship and propaganda. However, they now face financial difficulties as Visa/Mastercard withdrawals, "foreign agent" labels, and YouTube monetization restrictions have left them with limited income sources. Sanctions have also impacted Russian Apple users, preventing them from paying for services and renewing their Apple Developer accounts, which hinders the development and dissemination of enlightening mobile applications by free Russian media and NGOs. As the crisis deepens, both Russian and Ukrainian civil societies need access to a free internet and digital platforms more than ever. Unfortunately, they have been stripped of these essential tools, leaving them vulnerable to relentless propaganda. The panelists will discuss the real impact of technological sanctions and explore potential solutions to ensure the free flow of information.
1. We will use technology that allows seamless communication between both groups. We will: - utilize a robust conferencing platform that supports screen sharing, video, and audio - encourage onsite participants to use microphones for clarity and designate a moderator to manage questions and discussions, ensuring equal participation - partner virtual and onsite participants to foster connections and encourage them to communicate via chat or text exchanges 2. To design the session for the best possible experience we will review each activity or exercise, focusing on how remote participants will engage. We are going to plan for online small group work and make sure that onsite participants make space for online attendees to contribute. We will use inclusive technology for recording shared ideas, such as digital whiteboards, to ensure both onsite and online participants can easily access the information. 3. Complementary online tools and platforms to increase participation and interaction during the session include: - Polling or survey tools, like Mentimeter or Poll Everywhere, to gather real-time feedback and opinions. - Interactive whiteboards, like Miro or Mural, for brainstorming and collaborative work. - Breakout room features available in video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet. - Chat tools, like Slack or Microsoft Teams, for ongoing communication and file sharing during the session.