TEDxDzorwulu organizer Mac-Jordan Degadjor named Ghana’s first Internet Freedom Fellow


Mac-Jordan speaks at TEDxYouth@Inspire

TEDxDzorwulu organizer Mac-Jordan Degadjo is a TEDx’er, writer, blogger, activist, and — most recently — a U.S. Department of State Internet Freedom Fellow.

According to a press release from the US embassy to Ghana,”The Internet Freedom Fellows program brings human rights activists from across the globe to Geneva, Washington, and Silicon Valley to meet with fellow activists, U.S. and international government leaders, and members of civil society and the private sector engaged in technology and human rights.”

Until 2013, there had yet to be an Internet Freedom Fellow from Ghana. Mac-Jordan is the first.

His work covering the 2012 Ghanian presidential elections online; advocating for the protection of and collaboration between Ghanian bloggers through a group called BloggingGhana; and co-organizing BarCamps throughout the country to, as the embassy reports, encourage young Ghanians to "get on-line where ever and however they can, making sure they have Ghanaian peers available to walk them through tech challenges," garnered the attention of the program, and a place among this year’s fellows.

"A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet," Mac-Jordan said when we spoke to him about the fellowship. "I believe in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, which states that: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’

"If access to the Internet was blocked when I moved to Ghana in 2007, there [wouldn’t have been] news about innovations, entrepreneurship and others coming from Africa and Ghana. Keeping the Internet free and open means more jobs opportunities are shared through social networks and forums, the spirit of innovation and creativity is encouraged."

Mac-Jordan is especially interested in social media, which he spoke about at TEDxYouthInspire in 2010. “Social media is playing a key role in every aspect of our lives,” he told TEDx, “moving beyond just networking. Social media is also changing the way traditional news sources distribute their information. It enables every Internet user to freely access, produce, and share information with networks across borders. It makes power disseminate into society with ease.”

What does he plans to do now that he’s an Internet Freedom Fellow? “The core aim of this fellowship is to share experiences and lessons learned on the importance of a free Internet to the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as fundamental human rights,” he said. “Therefore, I’ll use this fellowship to inspire my generation/network of youths about the positive effects social media and the Internet can bring to them.”

You can follow Mac-Jordan’s work on his blog, or on Twitter or Facebook. For more of his thoughts on technology and Internet freedom, read the rest of our interview below:

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