General: Gulf Centre for Human Rights promotes the need for local content at the IGF 2017 in Geneva


The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) had an active presence at the twelfth annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) which was held in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) from 18 to 21 December 2017. The theme of the IGF was “Shape Your Digital Future.” GCHR was represented by Executive Director Khalid Ibrahim, who participated in a session on local content, and called for the release of online activists in the Gulf region and elsewhere.

He met various multi-stakeholder representatives such as civil society activists, private and public officials, including Dr. Vinton Cerf, Deputy President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, who is one of the "founding fathers" of the Internet.

On 21 December 2017, Ibrahim participated in a session entitled “Local content: an opportunity for underserved regions” and “IGF Best Practice Forum on Local Content”. The two sessions were originally scheduled as parallel sessions but the organisers decided to merge them to discuss issues of mutual concern. The goal of the session was to “highlight the main factors impeding the creation of local content in the [Arab] region from a free flow of information perspective and economic and social development.” The merged session also looked at building local content in rural and developing areas worldwide. See:

The round table session was organised by Professor Abdelaziz Hilali, President of the Mediterranean Federation of Internet Associations (FMAI), Roula Mikhael, Executive Director of Maharat Foundation and GCHR’s Khalid Ibrahim.

In addition to Ibrahim, Hilali and Mikhael, Layal Bahnam, Marie Noemie Marques, Glenn McKnight, Wim Degezelle, Miguel Ignacio Estrada, and Raquel Gatto, spoke at the session, which was moderated by Mohamed Tijani Ben Jemaa.

Ibrahim talked about the need to adopt progressive policies and initiatives to encourage local content creators to develop content that addresses the needs of communities. He called for the release of online activists who are imprisoned due to content that they published on social media networks such as facebook and twitter, in addition to the need to create a knowledge-based society that respects human rights.