Ghanaian Human Rights lawyer appointed to Facebook, Instagram global content board

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A Ghanaian human rights lawyer and Program Manager at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei, has been appointed as Board Member to the newly created New Global Independent ‘Oversight Board’ for Facebook and Instagram Content.

The 20-member ‘Oversight Board’ will review certain content decisions by Facebook and Instagram and make binding and transparent decisions based on content and respect for freedom of expression and human rights.

Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei joins two other Africans – Julie Owono, a digital rights advocate and Executive Director of Internet Sans Frontières from Cameroon and Maina Kiai, a human rights activist and Director of Human Rights Watch’s Global Alliances and Partnerships program from Kenya – on the Oversight Board.

In a press statement issued by the Board, it said Madam Asare-Kyei will work in collaboration with 19 other Members who speak over 27 languages and have diverse professional, cultural, political, and religious backgrounds and viewpoints.

“Over time the Board will grow to around 40 Members. While no one can claim to represent everyone, members are confident that the global composition will underpin, strengthen and guide decision-making,” the statement noted.

Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei bings many years of extensive experience in strategy development, program design, grant management, research and stakeholder engagement from Southern, Western and Central Africa unto the Board.

Prior to this, she has worked for a number of international development and philanthropic organizations in different capacities in Africa.

She is passionate about Africa, its development and has a working knowledge of African regional mechanisms and institutions.

Madam Asare- Kyei is a graduate of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her research interests include women, children and disability rights, critical race feminism and socioeconomic rights of the poor.

Of Ghanaian and South African citizenship, she has a varied background in supporting and developing transformational social programs and advocacy strategies through the provision of technical advice and input into policy and programming of civil society organizations on issues like access to information, freedom of expression, human rights and substantive justice, especially as they relate to the inclusion, equality of opportunity and empowerment of vulnerable and under-represented groups such as women, children, persons with disabilities and LGBTIQs.

Confirming her appointment, Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei said, “The very act of creating this Board shows Facebook has taken the criticism leveled against it seriously and I hope my membership can help address some of these criticisms,” she said.

“I am particularly focused on the Board’s role in improving transparency and accountability, and creating an appeal process where people can bring their content issues. I feel strongly that the Board needs to be truly representative, not just in terms of geography, but age, subject matter and breadth of issues covered as well,” she said.

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