November 21, 2022, Almaty, Kazakhstan - On November 17-18, 2022, Almaty hosted the 13th annual Central Asian Internet Forum Development of the Internet Sphere in Central Asia InternetCA-2022. The forum’s topic was the exercising of digital rights in times of crisis.
The forum’s topic was prompted by the influence of foreign propaganda, disinformation and state control over the Internet.
The coronavirus pandemic, the January 2022 events in Kazakhstan and Russia’s war in Ukraine have contributed to the spread of fake news and disinformation on social media, the growth of xenophobia and the polarization of society. Media literacy and critical thinking are key to assessing what is fact from fiction.
The 13th Internet forum gathered experts in digital rights, fact-checking, media literacy, countering propaganda, freedom of speech and human rights from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Austria and the USA. Journalists, bloggers, researchers, government officials, representatives of international organizations and NGOs, lawyers, and diplomats also attended the forum.
“Safeguarding our human digital rights is a monumental challenge of the day. While the internet offers great promise in digitising democratic processes and providing new channels for sharing information, each new opportunity and benefit also introduces numerous new risks,” USAID/Central Asia Regional Director for Democracy and Health Robin Mardeusz told the forum. “This gathering here, today, is a critical step in bringing the best and brightest minds together to recognize, mitigate, and address those risks.”
Over 2,000 people have attended the InternetCA forum over the past 12 years. Topics for discussion at InternetCA 2022 were digital rights, the line between freedom of speech and hate speech, self-regulation on the Internet, digital repression, technological and legal aspects of the regulation of the Internet, the impact of foreign propaganda and disinformation on public opinion.
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