Facebook’s Internet.org: A strategic project bridging the African digital divide?

Facebook’s Internet.org: A strategic project bridging the African digital divide?

By Arthur Gwagwa

The debate on net neutrality pitting the haves and have-nots is not a new one in projects that draws multiple stakeholders from the global north and south. Although these hemispheres are under one sky, their perspectives on what development entails have different horizons. The scathing criticism of internet.org, though based on principle, needs to descend to the realm of pragmatism and respond to the contextual nuances. In doing so, it should uphold the principle of net neutrality, however it should also address the wider discourse of human security underpinned by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This article has advanced both discourses based on principle and pragmatism. The later discourse is mainly based on the development ‘needs’ rather than the human rights based paradigm.

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Arthur Gwagwa is a freedom of expression activist and lawyer. He mainly writes on networked technologies and society issues relating to Africa.

The views expressed in the article are solely those of the Author.

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