Kenya Denies Agreeing to Western-Led Declaration on Future of the Internet

Kenya added that it is still reviewing the matter and its listing as a signatory was erroneous.

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Kenya has questioned its presence in a list produced by the United States Department of State endorsing a new ‘Declaration for the Future of the Internet.’

In a statement, a Kenya government spokesperson has indicated that Kenya is yet to agree to the principles contained in the declaration because the country is yet to ‘go through its processes and laws for endorsing this declaration.’

Kenya added that it is still reviewing the matter and its listing as a signatory was erroneous.

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On April 28, 2022, the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, announced that the United States alongside atleast 50 countries had launched the new declaration of the Internet, and as a result ‘the United States and partners will work together to promote this vision and its principles globally.’

Other than the United States, all European Union member states, and 32 non-EU countries, signed this declaration with:

  • Kenya
  • Senegal
  • Cape Verde
  • Niger

the only African countries present on the list.

The full declaration, now available on the U.S. State Department website, notes that, while the internet has been revolutionary, it has posed several policy challenges including rising digital authoritarianism, barriers to access, and cybersecurity risks.

A trend of rising digital authoritarianism where some states act to repress freedom of expression, censor independent news sites, interfere with elections, promote disinformation, and deny their citizens other human rights.

– U.S. State Department

Here is what new Twitter owner, Elon Musk, had to say when it was announced the U.S. would be releasing the declaration:

The signatories are said to commit to the following commitments:

  • Protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people
  • Promote a global Internet that advances the free flow of information
  • Advance inclusive and affordable connectivity so that all people can benefit from the digital economy
  • Promote trust in the global digital ecosystem, including through protection of privacy, and
  • Protect and strengthen the multi-stakeholder approach to governance that keeps the Internet running for the benefit of all

It remains to be seen if Kenya will now be removed from the list.

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