Autocracy 2.0 at the Internet Governance Forum

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Originally published on GenderIT.ot, Feminist talks

This is my first IGF, I have sneaked into the arena of Internet Governance during the WSIS. At that time I decided to retire and be a distant witness. This year I am here, listening, learning, observing and exercising my right to express my visions, my active feminist citizenship – which was censored today (7th Nov.) in the workshop 89 room 8 by the “aggressively moderate” Robert Guerra.

Baku, IGF venue - Image by Shawna Finnegan
Baku, IGF venue – Image by Shawna Finnegan

It would be a minor incident if was not for the fact that the workshop was entitled “civic liberties in the digital era” and we were listening to the experience of Emin Milli, a writer, about Autocracy 2.0 as applied to him by the Azerbaijan regime.

Such paradoxical behaviour! Having expressed my profound dissent and leaving the room, having spoken its name, here I think that Autocracy 2.0 deserves more attention than the unstable moderator of the workshop gave it.

What is Autocracy 2.0? It is the subtle ability of a government to silence opposition. It counts on online freedom and the necessity to display dissent and then uses this to attack him/her in offline spaces (aka ‘real life’) and, if necessary, also attack close family and friends and, of course, threaten physical security. The highest threat remains imprisonment, with eventual liberation, in a way or another, and in a longer or shorter period.

So Autocracy 2.0 is not only the perfect framework for countries such as Azerbaijan but is also a perfect framework for all the imperfect democracies in which we live in, in our less or least developed countries. Balkans activists and journalists have a long experience past and present, and at the moment Macedonia is the most Autocratic 2.0 of all.

Image by Shawna Finnegan

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