The United Nations declared 2022-2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, with the hope of creating a pathway for promoting mainstream linguistic diversity and multilingualism, including in the digital sphere. Currently, there are an estimated 7,000 languages and dialects in the world, of which only 10 dominate the internet ecosystem.
Internet access and affordability is one of the principles of the Declaration (Principle 2). In this blog post, Yolanda Mlonzi, a South African International Relations and Media Studies student who works at the Association for Progressive Communications, provides a personal perspective on the issue.
Activists from around the world joined a session at the Internet Freedom Festival in Valencia, Spain, to discuss advocacy and global solidarity on internet rights in African countries. Two current initiatives were introduced to the participants: the African Declaration on Internet Rights and FAST Africa.
The internet is an enabling space and a resource for the realisation of all human rights, and particularly relevant to social, economic and human development in Africa, where the value of the internet for development will only be fully realised if the internet is open and secure as well as accessible and affordable. The African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms was initiated in 2013 by a small group of civil society organisations at the African Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi.