APC-IMPACT: India, Malaysia, and Pakistan Advocacy for Change through Technology

‘Networking for freedom online and offline: protecting freedom of information, expression and association on the internet in India, Malaysia and Pakistan’ in India

Date: 13 November 2014

Venue: Sanskriti Foundation, Anandgram, Delhi

Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) had organized the first Project inception meeting at Sanskriti Foundation on 13 November 2014. The meeting was attended by 16 Advisory Members of India Project Advisory Committee to discuss project scope, obectives, activities of the project. The meeting also identified roles and responsibilities of Project Advisory Committee Members, formation of sub-committee, periodicity of sub-committee meeting, time-schedulers, etc.

The project, titled, “Networking for freedom online and offline: protecting freedom of information, expression and association on the internet in India, Malaysia and Pakistan’ in India has been initiated by Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in association with the European Union and its 3 Country Partners – DEF in India; BytesforAll in Pakistan and Empower in Malaysia.

Session I: Project’s Scope, Objectives and Activities

Project’s scope, objectives and activities of the project were presented in front of advisory committee members for correction/additions if any.

Discussion Points

  • The project should understand and identify the following aspects of online versus offline laws
  • Internet should not be used as a mere medium but it should be treated as something where we exercise our citizenship.
  • To identify legal literacy/awareness as a serious issue (since there are laws which are there to protect human rights but due to lacunae in the judicial and political system, people become victimized)
  • To initiate awareness among law keepers to understand online laws and its impact on other laws
  • Understand various aspects of internet rights – freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, privacy, surveillance, government monitoring, net neutrality, encryption, data protection, right to privacy, right to be anonymous, right to be forgotten, hate speech, etc.
  • To identify difference between online and offline FOE (Freedom of Expression) laws
  • To identify laws for offline and online separately (since issues like child pornography are sometimes used to create frenzy).
  • To map good and bad laws

Action Point: Broader framework of legal literacy and awareness needs to be developed   

Session II: Research, Documentation & Monitoring

Research is one of the primary deliverables of the project. On the method of writing research report advisory members suggested the following:

Discussion Points

  • Define the target group on the basis of Frank La Rue Framework. The Framework is general, so the framework needs to be customized as per India’s need and put the things in context;
  • The target group should include – media houses, law makers, community radio, civil society, human rights defenders, RTI activist, offline defenders, etc.
  • Discussed research ideas
    • Idea 1: Human Rights, Internet Freedom, and Constitutional & Legal Framework
    • Idea 2: Human Rights, Internet Freedom, and Citizen-Community-CSO Awareness & Engagement
    • Idea 3: Net Freedom, Human Rights, & Monitoring of Internet Rights
    • Idea 4: Access, Net Freedom & Human Rights
  • In the scope of the study, issues like privacy, surveillance, encryption, government monitoring, etc., should also discussed and included in the research.
  • On the research ideas, advisory members suggested to refine the research ideas with:
    • Motivation behind doing research on this topic
    • Advantages/disadvantages to do research on this topic
    • Support to carry out research on this topic
    • Goals to achieve through the research of this topic
  • Share refined research ideas/topics online with advisory committee members
  • Advisory members suggested that instead of going into gamut of issues, research topic should be focused and target to one issue
  • Regional issue paper should reflect the country research report
  • The research report should reflect variety of voices – government, CSO and private. However, these voices should come to the common ground with the existing government (a unified voice is required to raise an agenda for a viable discourse with the government);
  • It was also recommended to
  • DEF should also articulate their political so as to push agenda forward

Action Point: The Research should lead to Project’s Advocacy and Capacity Building Activities.

Session III: Role of India Project Advisory Committee Member

The Session discussed on the role and responsibilities of Project Advisory Committee Members. The Session also included formation of sub-committee, periodicity of sub-committee meeting, time-schedulers, etc.

Discussion Points

  • It was suggested that advisory committee should not act as an Executive Committee, as they cannot be involved in day-to-day activity of the project;
  • Sub-committee should be formed within the advisory committee depending upon the requirement of the needs. The advisory committee should be flexible;;
  • Member from Human Rights Organization should also be part of the committee to diversify and contextualize the project in terms of human rights;
  • To understand better outcome of project, it was also recommended to have members from ground who are not using “Internet” as part of their daily project activity and to have feedback from them on terms of its rights;
  • It was advised that information flow should come Project Team to Advisory Committee Members and on that basis advisory committee members can give their inputs on project activities;
  • Mapping of Advisory Members skills are also required, so that their particular skills can be mapped with project activities to give better outcome;
  • Role of Advisory Members should also be included in Resource Planning depending upon the requirement of Project
  • It was also recommended to form sub-committees on the basis of Project Activities and then map Members’ skills with Project activities. These sub-committees are:
  1. Research, monitoring & documentation
  2. Capacity building
  3. Networking and support for advocacy
  4. Institutional Strengthening

Proposed Sub-Committee

S.NO Subcommittee Members’ Name
1 Research, monitoring & documentation
  1. Mishi Choudhary
  2. Venu Arora
  3. Deepak Maheshwari
  4. Mahima Kaul
  5. Anja Kovacs
  6. Syed S. Kazi
2 Capacity building
  1. N. Ramakrishna
  2. Shubhranshu Choudhary
  3. Rajen Varada
  4. Francesca Feruglio
  5. Basheerhamad Shadrach
3 Networking and support for advocacy
  1. Saikat Datta
  2. Subho Ray
  3. Madanmohan Rao
  4. Nikhil Dey
4 Institutional Strengthening
  1. Osama Manzar
  2. Ingrid Srinath
  3. Rajnesh D. Singh
  4. Amitabh Singhal
  • Sub-committees should do meeting in every 3 months depending upon need of meeting. The meeting can be done virtually either through Video Conferencing or e-Mails engaging Project Team Members
  • Advisory Committee Members can do meeting in every 6 months to have update on the project activity

Action Point: Formation of Sub-Committee on the basis of Project Activities


  1. Create Frank La Rue Framework on the basis of India need.
  2. Refine ‘Discussed Research Topics’ that can accomplish complete project goals – Capacity building, Advocacy, and Institutional Strengthening.

NEXT ADVISORY COMMITTEE: 1st Week of April 2015 (Possible Date: 3rd April 2015)