Middle East and Adjoining Countries School on Internet governance (MEAC-SIG) is an annual 5 days event that is being organized through ICANN MEAC-Working Group. The aim of the school is to stimulate the MEAC internet community and motivate individuals to actively participate in the regional and global Internet governance Issues.
Starting from 2014, this was the fourth version of the MEAC-SIG. the school moves around in the region and has a different host in a different country each year. NIC.TR (an organization that manages the “.tr” ccTLD for Turkey) was the host of this year’s school at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey.
The event started with an opening ceremony where Fahd Batynah the Stakeholder Engagement Manager of Middle East welcomed everyone. During the opening ceremony Mr.Omer Fatih SAYAN Chair of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of TURKEY (BTK) welcomed everyone and asked all stakeholders to join their forces together in the shaping of the Internet. He said it is important to have fast Internet but it is also important to have reliable and secure one. Further he reminded that during the July 15 coup attempt the electronic communications sector was among the first targets but they were still able to provide services to communicate the news to overcome the damages.
While sharing some statistics about the Turkey Internet status he said that the number of broadband internet subscribers increased by 24.3 percent compared by the previous year in turkey. He also said that Turkey moved to high-speed internet usage with 4.5 G on April 1, 2016, which lead turkey to be among the first 20 countries in terms of the number of the Internet users in the world by end of March this year.
“Online Access to Wikipedia is blocked in Turkey since 29 April 2017”
Baher Esmat the VP, Stakeholder Engagement of the Middle East and David Olive ICANN representative in Istanbul was also one of the attendees during the opening ceremony and they too welcomed all participants.
This Year School had 33 participants representing 13 different countries. 3 participants from Afghanistan were also selected to participate in the event with 2 being fully funded and one partially. This is the second time that Afghans are able to make their way to MEAC-SIG. last year also two Afghans were selected to participate in the MEAC School on Internet Governance that was organized in Lebanon, but as there is no Lebanese embassy in Afghanistan, one of the selected participants was not able to make it to attend the event.
“IG is a new subject in Afghanistan, but it is becoming a very hot one day by day”
All Afghan participants toke part in the “Participants presentation” sessions and presented on the topics of their interest in the Internet Governance.
The MEAC region covers 22 Arab countries that are members of the League of Arab States: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco,Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, in addition to Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey.
At the end of the event (Day five) certificates of compilation was distributed to the participants.