Maat: Ensuring access to information through the internet is a vital safeguard for the electoral process
Okeil: We acknowledge the significance of internet access during elections to bolster trust in the democratic process
On the occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information, observed annually on 28 September with the aim of protecting and promoting the right to use information, being a basic human right and a key prerequisite for supporting development, democracy and equality, Maat for Peace, Development, and Human Rights has released a groundbreaking study entitled "Our Democracy is on the Brink of Abyss: How Blocking the Internet Impacts Elections’ Integrity and Transparency" This study underscores the importance of internet accessibility during electoral processes and examines the repercussions of internet shutdowns on the credibility and integrity of elections. Maat offers a range of recommendations within this study to enhance internet access and utilization during electoral processes, thereby contributing to the consolidation and sustainability of democracy.
In his message on this significant day, Ayman Okeil, a human rights expert and Chairman of Maat, emphasizes that the free flow of information during elections is a fundamental prerequisite for strengthening democracy. Between 2016 and the end of August 2023, 57 electoral processes in 29 countries worldwide were affected by internet blockades, which can potentially undermine trust in the democratic process. To overcome the challenges posed by internet shutdowns during elections, it is recommended to provide satellite internet or alternative internet solutions in countries that frequently experience such disruptions. Additionally, the development of a code of conduct, encompassing guidelines supporting access to online information during elections, is deemed necessary.