On Tuesday the 3rd of November, RX Radio Young Reporter Tarique Kenny represented RX Radio at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2020 event where the Steering Group was discussing the General Comment which was released earlier in the year. He focused on the issues of internet access in South Africa, affordability and connectivity. His presentation also looked at how these factors have been exacerbated by COVID-19. The event was held virtually but that did not stop people from attending. This event was in aid of spreading awareness and providing a different perspective of the impact the digital space has on children during the global pandemic and how important it is to take children’s rights into account when making decisions involving them.
The event was facilitated by 5Rights’ founder Baroness Beeban Kidron, and Tarique was in the panel with Professor Sonia Livingstone, Dr. Amanda Third, Jutta Croll, and Olga A. Khazova. They are also acting as consultants to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to develop the General Comment. As the youngest panellist for the event, RX Reporter Tarique had already captured the attention of everyone in attendance by the time of his presentation. Tarique touched on many important points throughout his presentation, including internet and data prices in South Africa and how it creates challenges in communities especially for school-going children.
Accessibility and affordability is so crucial but for some underprivileged communities it becomes more difficult to obtain. He also highlighted that even long before the lockdown regulations were put in place, many communities and school-going children have to make use of internet cafes, and this along with gang violence has always been a hurdle that a large number of the South African youth have had to face, but with the global pandemic lockdown regulations going to the internet café has become increasingly harder and more dangerous. Despite all these challenges Tarique remains optimistic about the future and encourages others to do the same. This event sure made headlines by shedding light on the importance of children’s rights. Children are the future and their voices, opinions and experiences should be heard and shared, with this said, the General Comment will be adopted in 2021.RX Radio is grateful for this forum and will continue to strive for children’s rights to be recognised in the way that it deserves.