Kenya hosted the second annual Freedom Online Conference which focused on building stronger support for Internet freedom. The conference which sought to build a stronger support for internet freedom as well as articulate on the importance of the internet ran for two days between September 6-7.

400 stakeholders from the global ICT industry were invited for the conference. The issues that were addressed were basically those that affect freedom on the internet users in the world.

Speakers during the event retaliated the need for the use of the internet as a tool for growth, education and sustainability. Speaking during his speaker slot, the US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner talked on the evolution of information and communication technology as being the foundation of an open global platform for exchange of ideas and information and not a tool to silence and monitor citizens.

This year’s event was to debate on how countries can develop relevant legal frameworks and policies including standards of freedom of expression online. The Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo emphasized on the government’s efforts being at ensuring that online hate speech is mitigated ahead of the upcoming elections. The Ministry of Information and Communications plans for hiring social media experts to monitor various posts on social sites, a move aimed at cultivating a responsible use of the social media.

This event was organized by the Ministry of Information and Communications in partnership with the government of Netherlands. It presents Kenya with the opportunity to offer leadership in Africa on online related policy debates.

Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio said that discussions in the forum will be used as tools in the formulation of the country’s internet policies.

Kenya becomes the first Country in Africa to host this event. The discussions and debate from the roundtable will be formulated into policy recommendations for Government action regarding Internet freedom in Kenya.

Stakeholders are also advantaged in that they will have a perfect opportunity to discuss on the way forward for the Kenyan entrepreneur on using the internet as a business drive tool. This is so because, despite the high level of internet use in Kenya, very few people use the internet as an entrepreneurial value.

Through this forum, Kenyans will be able to identify channels and business opportunities that can be exploited through the internet.

Latest figures from the Communications Commission of Kenya show internet adoption in Kenya tops in Africa with over 17 Million Kenyans accessing the Internet.

Kenya also boasts of four undersea cables holding over 2.8 terabytes of bandwidth, a national Fibre Optic connection to all its neighbouring countries and over 5,261,919 Mbps international connectivity.

This conference is being held in Africa for the first time and Kenya and Ghana are the only African counties that are part of the 17 member Freedom Online Coalition. These are drawn from countries that have subscribed to the ideology of keeping the internet open and free as a worldwide endeavor.

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