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Statement from Paradigm Initiative: Participating in the Internet Governance Forum in Saudi Arabia

Statement from Paradigm Initiative: Participating in the Internet Governance Forum in Saudi Arabia

Tuesday 07th May, 2024: Paradigm Initiative stands firm in its commitment to championing digital rights and fostering a free and inclusive internet across Africa. As an organisation dedicated to advancing digital inclusion and advocating for the rights of internet users, we recognise the complexities surrounding the decision to participate in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Saudi Arabia this December.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights record is a matter of serious concern, and we acknowledge the legitimate apprehension surrounding the hosting of such a significant global event in a country with documented issues pertaining to freedom of expression, privacy, and other fundamental rights.

While we acknowledge the validity of the option to boycott as a form of protest, we view our participation on the ground and expressing our concerns as a more effective way of signalling our disapproval yet affirming the importance of having our constituency heard. African voices are often marginalised and excluded from global discussions on internet governance and digital rights. Boycotting the IGF would only further diminish our already limited presence in these crucial spaces.

Instead, we choose to participate in the IGF in Saudi Arabia as an opportunity to amplify African perspectives, advocate for digital rights, and hold governments and stakeholders accountable for upholding human rights online. We will use our presence at the forum to call for meaningful inclusion of all relevant constituencies in Internet governance processes, which includes selection of venues for multi-stakeholder engagements, engage in constructive dialogue, raise awareness about human rights issues, and push for meaningful reforms that promote a free, open, and secure internet for all.

Paradigm Initiative respects the diverse community positions and remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for the rights of all internet users. 


Nnenna Paul-Ugochukwu

Chief Operating Officer

For: Paradigm Initiative

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