#PDAF2019: Addressing digital challenges in Palestine within a global context - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
In partial partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Palestine, 7amleh - the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement delivered the third edition of the Palestine Digital Activism Forum, which featured 27 expert speakers in the field of digital rights in Palestine and worldwide.
The forum, which spanned over the course of three days and was attended by over 700 specialists, human rights defenders, activists and professionals in the field of digital rights, tackled several topics including the internal and external challenges facing Palestinian digital rights, and global digital rights trends and their implications on the Palestinian context. The forum also offered attendees the chance to hear directly from young Palestinians who have brilliantly utilized digital tools to drive social change.
Held in the Ramallah Municipality public hall, the first day of the forum included three rich panels titled:
- The Shrinking Space: Palestinian Digital Rights between the Threat of Israeli Laws.
- Internal Challenges, Global Digital Rights Trends.
- The Implications on Palestine, and Inspirational Projects: Digital Tools for Social Change.
Some of the highlights of the forum included a recorded message by David Kay, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression who addressed digital freedoms and how they are being compromised in Palestine and Omar Shaker, Director of Human Rights Watch in Palestine, whose talk included detailed accounts of the arrests carried out by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Hamas in Gaza, and the Israeli government.
During the second panel of the forum, speakers presented more global experiences in defending their digital rights. The panelists discussed global trends such as the European System for the Protection of Public Data (GDPR) and Amnesty International’s struggle to ensure the protection of digital rights and combating cyber surveillance as well as the most emerging threats to privacy and the current international trends to protect them.
The third panel of the forum highlighted community-based youth initiatives that have harvested the power of digital tools to drive social change such as the Wikipedia ‘D’ initiative, which strives to strengthen Arabic content on the global encyclopedia, Khazaen, an initiative that protects Palestinian history through digital archiving and publishing, events.ps, a company that simplifies the process of finding new events and buying tickets, and BirHakaya, a digital storytelling platform.
Local, regional and international trainers gave a total of 14 workshops in the second and third days of the forum in different cities including Haifa, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Gaza, Taybeh, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and Gaza Strip. The workshops covered media topics such as digital storytelling, photography for social change, mobile journalism and social subjects such as online gender-based violence, digital security and managing campaigns and mobilization for NGOs.