Feature image via https://flic.kr/p/ejibnm: WSIS Forum 2013 – Multi-Stakeholder approach to Governance of the Internet (ICANN). Courtesy ITU/Claudio Montesano Casillas.
Knowledge about Internet policy and governance in the MENA region isn’t easy to come by. While facts and figures about Internet penetration and social media usage exist, it is exceptionally difficult to find well-documented, rigorous analysis about how legal and technical frameworks are affecting the way people in the region exercise their rights online.
Over the past few years, several Arab organizations and researchers have begun to fill this gap. For example, SMEX has aggregated laws related to digital rights in 22 Arab League countries and initiated a series on trends in the emerging legal framework. 7iber has launched its Wireless blog. Egypt’s Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression reports on and defends digital freedoms. The Digital Citizen newsletter documents news about digital rights violations.
Needless to say, we can’t do it all. The scope and complexity of Internet policy and governance—which encompasses technically rich issues, such as IXPs, IPv6, and metadata collection, as well as legally tangled ones like human rights law, intermediary liability, and Constitutional supremacy—demands more voices with access to a wider range of research methods. With this in mind, SMEX has teamed up with the Internet Policy Observatory, along with 7iber, ASL 19, Ranking Digital Rights, and Citizen Lab, to host a workshop on internet policy research methods for digital rights advocates.
Internet Policy in the MENA Region: Research Methods for Advocates will take place September 1-4, 2015, at Kadir Has University in Istanbul and is now seeking applications from activists, advocates, and early-career researchers working and studying in the Middle East and North Africa. Further, says the call,
Prospective applicants should have a particular area of interest related to internet governance and policymaking, censorship, surveillance, internet access, political engagement online, protection of human rights online, or corporate governance in the ICT sector. Applicants will be asked to bring a specific research question to the program to be developed and operationalized through trainings and one-on-one mentorship with top researchers and experts from around the world.
The program will provide skill-building tutorials on the following topics:
- defining the problems and framing research questions
- conducting desk and archival research
- policy mapping
- questionnaire/interview design and techniques
- conducting surveys and public opinion research
- network measurement
- social network analysis
- data visualization
- maximizing influence: research dissemination and promotional strategies
- developing proposals for funding, actionable research agendas and evaluating project impact
A strong command of English is needed, and a limited pool of travel support is available (if you need support, you must indicate it on your application). The deadline to apply is May 15, 2015.