Photo source: Stockholm Internet Forum Facebook page.

For the third time since its existence, Metamorphosis Foundation has been invited to participate in the Stockholm Internet Forum (SIF) as one of the most important global events in the area of technology and the Internet. This year, the SIF is a completely digital experience, creating a unique opportunity for participants to come together and drive our cause across borders and time zones.

The seventh edition of the SIF, organized by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), is taking place online between May 10th – 12th, with pre-sessions on May 7th. The #SIF2020 is a platform for advancing free, open, and secure Internet as a development driver. Attendance of this forum by invitation only, while speakers are prominent world figures and activists. This year, two representatives of Metamorphosis Foundation were personally invited to take part in the SIF, namely Bardhyl Jashari, Executive director for whom this is also the third invitation, and Mila Josifovska Danilovska, Programme Manager, Social Accountability and Human Rights Online.

#SIF2021 offers an arena for the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and collaboration. “The ongoing pandemic has led to shifts in societies and development across the globe. As both individuals and organisations rely on trustworthy information to act safely and resume economic activities, access to a free internet is critical. In this era of uncertainty, where technical solutions are hastily developed and deployed, we must ensure privacy and human rights are not set aside.” – is what is written on the website of the Forum. This year’s topic of the forum is “Mobilising for Digital Resilience – a free, open, and secure internet in the shifting landscapes of the pandemic”.

Video source: Stockholm Internet Forum’s website.

The organizers sent a message saying “Global internet freedom continues to decline. In the wake of the pandemic, we have seen further disparities across the globe. Let’s come together as a community to learn, build and solve to strengthen democracy and to fight poverty.”

Metamorphosis Foundation’s Executive Director, Bardhyl Jashari, highlighted that – “This year the Forum focused on new challenges related to the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence and how they affect, threaten and could potentially further threaten human rights. In a way, the impression is that these new technologies required CSOs to work harder on reminding, reaffirming and intensifying the promotion of core values and principles related to the protection of human rights.”

Photo source: Stockholm Internet Forum Facebook page.

“Being part of the Stockholm Internet Forum 2021 among an inspiring group of Human Rights Defenders is such an honor for myself personally, but also a recognition of Metamorphosis Foundation for having a crucial role in the promotion of a free, open, and secure Internet for all, and standing up for an inclusive and rights based digitalization.” – said Mila Josifovska Danilovska, Programme Manager, Social Accountability and Human Rights Online.

“It was very interesting to see how remote communities worldwide are mitigating connectivity issues, specifically online education obstacles and trying to create solutions instigated by the community itself. What was enlightening was to see how the communities themselves, in order to ‘connect the unconnected’ have opted towards using free natural, eco-friendly and sustainable resources for supporting connectivity, and thus decreasing expenses that the community cannot afford anyhow.” – Josifovska Danilovska added. She highlighted that, from what was presented at the Forum, the digital divide is still big, and there are many obstacles for digital inclusion of especially girls and women in remote and more conservative communities, as even in their childhood they are not stimulated to take initiative and participate meaningfully in society. “Digitalization is at the core of democratization and strengthening of the human rights online, and all the relevant stakeholders should jointly address these issue taking into account the needs and safety of all citizens without exception.“ – she concluded.

If you are curious to find out personally what was discussed on the forum, check out some of the open session recordings here.

Read about Metamorphosis’s experience from the Stockholm Internet Forum 2019 here.

Metamorphosis Foundation is addressing issues related to the digitalization through the project “Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA” , co-funded by the European Union and implemented by Metamorphosis Foundation, Open Data Kosovo (ODK), e-Government Academy (eGA), Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability – CRTA, Lëvizja MJAFT, NVM 35 MM.