– The international conference on “Social Media: Challenges and Ways to Promote Freedoms and Protect Activists” shall discuss more than 40 working papers over two days, with the participation of 300 international organizations, think tanks and journalists’ unions from different countries of the world
– The international conference shall include 5 interactive plenary debates and 4 parallel working groups over two days, in the presence of European Union special representative, EU Special Representative for Human Rights, as well as deputies and committees from the European Parliament, and a number of UN special rapporteurs
– The conference shall witness wide participation from Gulf, African and European countries, USA, Russia, and Latin America
– 100 national and international media outlets shall cover the international conference
Doha: Saturday, February 5, 2020
Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee, noted that more than 300 international organizations, universities, research centers, think-tanks, journalists’ unions and social networks, confirmed their attendance at the international conference on “Social Media: Challenges and Ways to Promote Freedoms and Protect Activists”, organized during the period from 16 – 17 February 2020, at the “Ritz-Carlton, Doha”, pointing out that the international conference shall discuss more than 40 working papers, in the presence and participation of prominent personalities. Various topics will be discussed through 5 interactive plenary debates and 4 parallel working groups over two days.
In a press statement, Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri said that the international conference is in its final steps of preparation, praising the cooperation and coordination between the organizers including the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights , the European Parliament, the International Federation of Journalists and the global alliance of national human rights institutions.
Dr. Al Marri explained, “We have witnessed great international response from international human rights organizations, as well as networks and specialized international agencies, where more than 300 international organizations, universities, research centers, think-tanks, and major social networks will participate in the conference, in the presence of journalists from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Latin American countries, United States of America, Costa Rica, Brazil, as well as Colombia, and African and Asian countries, including Committee to Protect Journalists of Costa Rica, and journalists’ union in Brazil and Colombia.
Dr. Al Marri added the conference will witness wide participation of prominent personalities from the European Union countries, some of which will present working papers, including the EU High Representative, and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, in the presence of deputies and committees from the European Parliament, and a number of UN special rapporteurs including the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to Privacy, the UN Special Rapporteur on Minorities issues, and the United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order; along with the participation of personalities and representatives of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the United Nations agencies, international organizations, and social networks.
Participation from the five continents
Al Marri states that “We have given great attention to Gulf, Arab and African participation, including Gulf organizations from Kuwait and the Sultanate of Oman, along with Arab organizations from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, and Jordan; as well as African organizations From Niger, Senegal, South Africa, Comoros, Cameroon, Uganda, and other countries. Besides the participation from countries from Eastern Europe, as well as Russia”.
100 media outlets to cover the conference activities
Al-Marri noted, “We also witnessed remarkable turnout by journalists and the international media to attend the conference and cover its activities, along with a number of think-tanks. Until this moment, we have received confirmation of the attendance of about 100 local and international media outlets to cover the activities of the international conference.”
According to the initial programme, the conference will witness an opening plenary entitled “Social Media: Challenges and Ways to Promote Freedoms and Protect Human Rights Defenders and Professional Contents Creators”, that shall be opened by Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee in Qatar and Vice-President and Secretary-General The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Georgette Gagnon, Director of the Director Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division, OHCHR, Mr. Eimon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr. Yunus Mujahid, President of the International Federation of Journalists, and Mr. Carlos Negret Mosquera, President of the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions.
6 interactive discussion sessions
The conference will also witness 6 interactive plenary debates over two days, the first of which is entitled “Creating an enabling environment for online civic space: Legal and institutional perspectives”, and shall be chaired by Mohammad Ali Alnsour, Chief Middle East and North Africa Section, OHCHR, and will be addressed by: Joe Cannataci Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, UN, Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counter – Terrorism Coordinator, EU, Alessandra Moretti, Member of the European Parliament, Olena Cherniavska, Senior Advisor, OSCE office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media, and Peter Freitag, Chairman of the Digital Expert Group, European Federation of Journalists.
Ms. Eva Kaili, Chair of the Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel, European Parliament, will chair the second interactive plenary debate entitled “Responses by social media companies to protect civic space”. The session will be addressed by Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, and Mr. Peter Micek, General Counsel, Access Now.
The conference will witness over two days parallel working groups. Working group A entitled “Legislative frameworks regulating freedom of expression and social media” shall be moderated by Ms. Dima Jweihan, International Centre for Not-for Profit Law and Ms. Ines Osman, MENA Rights Group, as Rapporteur. The working group shall be addressed by Tim Dawson, Chair of IFJ working group on surveillance, Simon Adam, Executive Director, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Nasser Abu Bakar, President of Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, Aymen Zaghdou, Legal Adviser, Mena Article 19, and Nidal Mansour, Executive President of the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists.
Working group B entitled ” Human rights implications of blocking access to communications and social media”, shall be chaired by Branislav Marelic, National Institute for Human Rights Of Chile, and Yasmine Abou Mansour, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as rapporteur. The working group shall be addressed by Gustavo Gomez, Executive Director, OBSERVACOM, Uruguay, Christy Hoffman, President of UNI-Global, Adam Shapiro, Head of Visibility and communications, Frontline Defenders, and Stephanie Chaban, Regional Advisor on gender equality and women’s empowerment, ESCWA Centre for Women.
On the second day of the conference, working group C entitled “Regulating Big Tech – Transparency and accountability in content moderation”, will be chaired by Ms. Nazila Ghanea, Professor, University of Oxford, UK, and Iris de Villars, Head of Tech Desk, Reporters Without Borders, RSF, as Rapporteur. The working group shall be addressed by Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issue, Anne- Cécile Robert, Le Monde Diplomatique, Jerald Joseph Jerald S JOSEPH, Commissioner of National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, Jillian York, Director for International Freedom of Expression -Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Matilda Sisato, Senior Political Advisor- Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, EU.
Working group D entitled “Can established news platforms survive social media?”, shall be Chaired by Dominique Pradalié, Secretary General of the National Journalists Union (SNJ), France, and Jeremy Dear, Deputy General Secretary, International Federation of Journalists, as Rapporteur. The working group shall be addressed by Larry Goldbetter, President, National Writers’, Union, USA, Elena Perotti, WAN-IFRA, Paul Murphy, CEO, Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), Australia, and Zuliana Lainez, Senior Vice-President IFJ, and General Secretary of National Association of Journalists of Peru.
The fifth Interactive plenary debate entitled “Identification of future activities to broaden civic space in the social media” shall be chaired by Livingstone Sewanyana, UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, the session shall be addressed by Lena Slachmuijlder, Senior Vice President, Programs Search for Common Ground, Nighat Dad, Executive Director of Digital Rights Foundation, and Martin O’Hanlon, President, Communications Workers of America, CWA-SCA.
Al-Marri in a closing session
The international conference is expected to come out with a number of recommendations and proposals. The closing session shall be chaired by Dr. Ali bin Samikh Al-Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar.