2015 Local IGF Essay Showcase

2015 Local IGF Essay Showcase

Freedom House's Internet Freedom team has funding to support at least three human rights advocates, activists, or academics to attend their national or regional Internet Governance Forum (IGF). 

To help the team solicit applications from individuals who are interested in participating in this activity and to ensure a fun and fair selection process, Freedom House is conducting the “2015 Local IGF Essay Showcase.” 

Please note the deadline for the essay showcase has been extended to March 13.

See below for full details, or download the instructions as a PDF here.

As noted above, at least three individuals will be selected to receive funding to engage in their national or regional IGF. In addition, up to 20 essays will be selected to be published in an online gallery. The purpose of the gallery is to showcase the essays that best help to raise awareness about whether and how much civil society members and human rights perspectives are included in discussions about internet governance in various countries and regions.

For more information and detailed instructions, please see the official call for submissions below. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email [email protected]. We will endeavor to respond to your inquiries in a timely manner. 

Request for Submissions:
National and Regional Internet Governance Forums
Travel Stipends

2015 Local IGF Essay Showcase
Issue date:              January 27, 2015
Deadline date:            March 13, 2015, 23:59 EST (GMT –5:00)
Announcement date:         March 20, 2015
What:  Freedom House is seeking essay submissions on the topic of the challenges and opportunities for human rights online and internet governance in various countries and regions. Details about the essay specifications are below. An internal committee will select up to three entries to award the author/creator a small travel stipends of no more than US$3,000 for participation in their local Internet Governance Forums (IGFs) in 2015. Details about expectations for travel stipend recipients are below. Furthermore, up to 20 submissions will also be featured in Freedom House’s online gallery, to be titled “Reflections on the State of Net Governance and Human Rights Online Around the World”, which will display other top-rated essays. Details about usage permissions are included below.
Why: The aim of this initiative is to amplify civil society contributions within multistakeholder dialogues in key regions and countries on issues related to governing an open, global, secure, and resilient internet.
How: With the aid of financial and material support to attend and engage in local internet governance meetings, selected participants will more persuasively advocate to other stakeholders for greater freedom online and greater inclusion for civil society in the multi-stakeholder process of governing the internet.
Who:  Individuals will be deemed eligible applicants if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Submit their essays according to the rules and instructions below.
  2. Demonstrate a commitment to promoting human rights online and civil society engagement in multi-stakeholder internet governance processes.
  3. Qualify as a non-governmental activist, academic, citizen journalist, human rights defender, or representative of a non-profit human rights organization.

Where: The geographic scope of this initiative is global, and thus essay submissions are not limited to local IGFs in a particular country or region. However, local IGFs at which civil society perspectives have been underrepresented will be given priority consideration. Applicants are invited to explain in their essays or in a cover letter addressed to the selection committee why the IGF in their country or region should be a priority, and what they believe they will contribute if they attend.
When: The submission period will open on January 27, 2015 and will close on March 13, 2015 at 23:59 EST (GMT -5:00). Contest winners will be announced by March 20, 2015. This award may be used to attend any national or regional IGF between April 1, 2015 and November 15, 2015.
Rules, instructions, and specifications for submission:

  • Interested applicants are invited to submit a written essay (option #1) or photo essay (option #2) describing the threats to net freedom in their country or region and explaining how diverse stakeholders are or should be working together to preserve an internet that protects and promotes human rights, such as freedom of expression, privacy, and access to information.
  • See below for specifications on options #1 and #2
  • Submission should be sent as an email attachment to [email protected]
  • The subject of the email should be: “Local IGF Essay Challenge – [YOUR NAME], [YOUR COUNTRY]”
  • The body of the email should list the following:
    • Full name of applicant
    • Country of representation
    • Organization or employer
    •  Position title or type of affiliation
    • Email address
    • Phone number
    • Information about the national or regional IGF the applicant hopes to attend, including planned dates and venue, website, organizers, agenda, panelists, key participants, etc.
  • Submissions are limited to one essay per person.
  • Essays must be original work; any plagiarizing will result in disqualification.
  • No submissions past the deadline, March 13, 2015 at 23:59 EST (GMT -5:00), will be accepted.

Option #1: Written narrative essay. Written essay submissions should be between 600 to 1000 words. Essays should be non-fiction, in English, and edited for grammar and punctuation. They may be written in either first-person or third-person point of view on the topic of key challenges and opportunities for human rights online in your country or region, as well as the state of civil society engagement in local internet governance processes.
Option #2: Photo essay. Photo essay submissions should be between five and ten photos with brief captions. Use your creativity, but please keep the focus of the photos related to the subject of human rights online and internet governance in your country or region. Photos will be evaluated based on their subject-matter relevance and artistry. Captions should be non-fiction, in English, and edited for grammar and punctuation. They may be written in either first-person or third-person point of view. Prior to submission, please obtain informed consent of any individuals pictured and identified in the photos, and be sure to note this in the body of your submission email.
Usage permissions: By submitting an entry, applicants grant Freedom House license to use their essays or portions of their essays (with attribution) in the Local IGF Essay Challenge gallery online under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Freedom House will make every effort to notify individuals prior to publication. In some cases, essays or portions of the essays (with attribution) may appear in private reports to funders. Freedom House will consult with the original content creator before pursuing any other use.
Note on privacy: Freedom House will consider applicants’ requests to remain anonymous or to withhold publication of their essay for safety reasons on a case-by-case basis. Please inform us of such requests when submitting your essay.
Expectations for IGF travel stipend recipients
Up to three essayists will be selected to receive funding to attend an IGF meeting in their country or region. Freedom House will cover round-trip flight, accommodation during the IGF, conference registration fees, a per diem stipend, and necessary visa costs. Applicants are reminded that funding will be contingent on:

  1. Being selected according to the review committee criteria.
  2. Providing receipts and documentation for reimbursement of financial expenses that qualify as allowable costs. (A list will be provided by Freedom House to selected participants, who will have the responsibility to ensure theexpenditure meets the specifications before incurring the expense.)
  3. Participating in the full IGF and reporting out on the proceedings. (Freedom House is open to creative ideas for the format of the report, which could take the shape of a blog post, op-ed, or incorporate multimedia elements – such as Storify or audiovisual clips – into a narrative internal report.)
  4. Though not required, selected applicants are encouraged to submit or co-submit an official workshop proposal and/or participate in an official workshop panel during the IGF.

Funding for this program is provided to Freedom House through a grant from the U.S. Department of State.
About the Organization:

For more than 70 years, Freedom House has supported the global expansion of freedom through advocacy activities, in-depth research on the state of freedom country-by-country, and through direct support of democratic reformers throughout the world. The Global Internet Freedom Program seeks to coun­teract the rising trend of government censorship and surveillance and to expand efforts to challenge restrictions on net freedom around the world.