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Administrative crackdown on a Net Neutrality Seminar


Family photosFriday, August 8, 2014 at about 1:15 pm Cameroon time a wagon of top level cops heavily armed, jumped into the Ayaba Banquet hall to stop a seminar on the theme: Promoting Net Neutrality through Multi Stakeholder capacity Building and Dialogue.  To my greatest surprise, after the first training session, a host of police officers moved into the hall asking my colleague and I to follow them to the station for some administrative fixes. This is the first time since 2008 we are facing invisible walls in the field.

They were acting in accordance to a prefectoral order demanding the suspension of the event after complaints from the regional delegate of post and telecommunication qualifying the event as a high security risk.

After about five hours of a loaded police interrogation on the issue, we were released from the Bamenda (I) central police station immediately the investigator gave his report to station chief, a five star top level police commissioner.

At the end of the day, no one could demonstrate how risky the seminar was and why it was to be suspended without any notice from the competent authorities.

An anonymous cop disclosed his disagreement on the action and blamed it to external manipulation from some civil servants. He said “such regrettable incidents have been happening for some time now and will be difficult to eradicate because the police is subject to the executive”. He further advised us to always sort out “technical issues” with those concerned before carrying out such activities for the powers they have can be used at their discretion.

Talks with the regional delegation of post and telecommunication

An assistant to the regional delegate of post and telecommunications, Mr Apa, who was asked to supervise the suspension, advised us to reorganize the seminar in a later date and promised to assist in his own capacity.

Call for action

Dear reader, we invite to show your support for this project geared at promoting freedom of expression in Cameroon. by “liking ” our Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/NetNogCm


Excel AsamaThe evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem has been very challenging since the installation of the open standards as method of governance and development. These principles stand to be the best method of governance as of now though it has gone through a lot of challenges and controversial situations from some stake holders involved.

I look at the future of the Internet governance ecosystem with a lot of reserve for the following reasons:

  • Politics and the quest for power: The founding fathers of the Internet never thought of a platform that is dominated by politicians and power mongers of different forms. The Snoden sting is just an example to show case the interest politicians have in using the global Internet platform to have an edge over the others. This quest for info power and control over others play a vital role in shaping the evolution of Internet Governance in the coming years. An invisible stakeholder has been introduced into the governance platform (secret spying agents). The impact this stakeholder has on the governance structure is very important. Many users are scared away from the platform. People feel more unsecured online than offline. The risk of a global conflict between nations and continents is more and more visible. The Internet governance is gradually sliding off the hands of the three in one governance (government, civil society and private sector) to a three plus one formula, the invisible actor.
  • Business and the neutrality of the net: Another factor that is shaping the evolution of the Internet in a negative direction is the perpetual violation of internet neutrality by businesses for the purpose to make huge benefits.

Considering the above challenges listed, I personally have the take that the evolution of the Internet governance will be at risk if the multi stakeholder method of governance is not respected and reinforced. It is the only method of governance that guarantees equality in the governance structure. The shaping of the Internet future will depend on how each stakeholder is reminded on its role and limits in the management of platform resources. Should one stakeholder go beyond limits, then the others must be strong enough either to sanction to get him or her back to normal in a reasonable time limit.

The multi stake holder guiding principles of Internet governance play a major and productive role in the delegation of new top level domain by ICANN. This has been very instrumental in the whole process.

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