“Digital inclusion goes beyond thinking about Internet connectivity“

Missions Publiques’ 76 partners globally are working hard to prepare the Citizens’ Dialogue on the Future of Internet in their countries. As the Dialogue approaches, the coalition of partners are working hard to ensure a diverse discussion, recruiting citizens from all walks of life, whether they have access to the Internet or not. Let’s take a closer look at our partner in Singapore, the Centre for Trusted Internet and Community, led by Natalie Pang, Senior Lecturer at the National University of Singapore.

Missions Publiques: Natalie, why did you decide to join We the Internet project?

Natalie Pang, Senior Lecturer in Singapore: The Internet pervades so many aspects of our lives. It impacts how we work, our relationships with family and friends, and how we engage with issues. This is an opportunity for citizens to voice their concerns and participate in shaping how the Internet will continue to evolve. I wanted to be a part of the adventure and to contribute to integrating citizens’ voices in the future of Internet.

How is the Citizens’ Dialogue in Singapore going? How are you managing to bring 100 citizens to the Dialogue? 

A lot is going on! We are in the midst of recruiting participants, facilitators and reporters. While the event has attracted quite a good number of people we are mindful about reaching out to those that are not usually online and ready to discuss the topic. As such, we are also reaching out to communities and also creating flyers, posters to be distributed to spread the word.

We cannot have a face to face event due to Covid19 safety measures so the Dialogue session will take place via Zoom and breakout sessions. There will be 10-12 people in each breakout session, with 1 facilitator and 1 reporter in each room. We are publicizing the event via social media ads as well as reaching out to organisations and groups who work with selected communities that are not usually online. For participants who are not able to participate via Zoom either due to space or device/Internet limitations, we will be speaking to them in a small group face-to-face session.

Global partners are implementing a national session. What will Singaporean citizens discuss in your national conversation?

The national session will focus on Digital Inclusion. For me, this is one of the most important theme we need to discuss – the pandemic has exacerbated the issues associated with those who have limited access and know-how and I see this event as an opportunity to include the voices of citizens on this important topic. Digital inclusion goes beyond thinking about access to devices and Internet connectivity – it is about building capacity in communities.

What do you hope will be the impact of the Dialogue?

I hope this Global Citizens’ Dialogue will be the start of many more platforms and opportunities for the voices of citizens to be included even as policies and solutions about the Internet. In Singapore, I hope to make findings from Dialogue day available and engage different stakeholders to address key issues emerging from the Dialogue.

To sign-up (for free) to the Singaporean Dialogue, click here:
tinyurl.com/wetheinternetsg

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