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Exploring the intersection of African languages and digital rights at the DRIF 2021

Rising Voices will be participating in the Digital Rights & Inclusion Forum on Monday, April 12th by convening a panel to discuss the need to consider the how digital rights agendas on the continent should keep the effect on African languages in consideration.

According to the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms:

 Individuals and communities have the right to use their own language or any language of their choice to create, share and disseminate information and knowledge through the Internet.

For many minority, indigenous, or under-resourced African language communities, exercising and defending this digital right has its own challenges, one of which is placing the issue on the agenda in various digital rights forums. There is a need for greater inclusion of these language communities who are working towards a more linguistically diverse internet.

This panel will raise questions about the challenges for minority, indigenous, or under-resourced African language communities for creating or accessing digital content in their mother languages. We’ll hear the experiences from four African language digital activists working with the Igbo, Swahili, Twi, and Yorùbá languages who are taking a “Do-It-Yourself” approach to ensuring that their languages are present on the internet by creating digital content, helping to build tools, as well as training and mentoring other speakers of their language to participate online. 

Taking part in the panel discussion will be four African language digital activists who were part of the 2019 social media campaign @DigiAfricanLangZita Ursula Zage, Tochi Precious Friday, Bonface Witaba, and Adéṣínà Ayẹni (Ọmọ Yoòbá) will be sharing their perspectives on the need for a culturally and linguistically diverse internet. The panel will be facilitated by Rising Voices Director Eddie Avila.

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