APrIGF 2023 Session Proposal Submission Form
Part 1 - Lead Organizer
Contact Person
Debarati Das
Organization / Affiliation (Please state "Individual" if appropriate) *
Point of View
Co-Lead, Capacity Building
Economy of Residence
Primary Stakeholder Group
Civil Society
Part 2 - Session Proposal
Session Title
Disability and Digital Self-Determination: What's the Missing Link?
Session Format
Panel Discussion
Where do you plan to organize your session?
Online only (with onsite facilitator who will help with questions or comments from the floor)
Specific Issues for Discussion
Self-determination has been a foundational concept related to human existence, with distinct yet overlapping cultural, social, psychological, philosophical understandings built over time. Similarly, Digital Self-Determination (DSD) is a complex notion re-shaping what we understand as self-determination itself. DSD fundamentally affirms that a person’s data is an extension of themselves in cyberspace, and we need to consider how individuals and communities can have autonomy over our digital selves.

Through a panel discussion with persons with disabilities, and experts working in the intersections of disability rights, accessibility and technology in the South Asia region, we will explore the idea of DSD through the lens of lived experiences of persons with disabilities. Drawing from a first-of-its-kind series of DSD studios organized by Point of View in four cities in India, the panel will focus on the theme of access and inclusion and also: 1) delve into the ability of persons with disabilities to digitally self-determine themselves using current/emerging digital technologies, based on lived realities of individuals from different geographies and contexts; 2) deepen understandings of the need and potential to work with persons with disabilities in developing new and emerging technologies; and 3) explore collaborative and learning opportunities to make DSD actionable and a reality for persons living with disabilities.

The session is structured to include audience perspectives on the issue, along with a Q&A section. We’ll document and share learnings with our networks of disability rights activists, people with disabilities, tech practitioners, designers and developers, and participants at the session. We’ll collect feedback through an anonymous online survey at the end of the session.
Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF
As our daily digital footprints grow, human society is grappling with new concepts, experiences and understandings of the relationships between our lives and the technologies that we use. Who are we as digital beings? Are we able to determine our ‘selves’ in a data-driven society? How do we locate ourselves as empowered data subjects in the digital age? How do we re-imagine human autonomy, agency and sovereignty in the age of datafication? Digital Self-Determination (DSD) is a valuable concept to consider some of these critical questions, especially in view of emerging technologies, which is the overarching theme for APrIGF.

Through the lens of disability, the session will explore a bridge between access points and ‘pain-points’, and think of inclusive ways of determining the self in new digital life spaces, going beyond accessibility and also thinking about personhood, agency, choice, autonomy, rights and freedoms in digital spaces for persons with disabilities. We will draw from our experience of the DSD studios we held in four cities in India earlier this year, and as outcomes: 1) articulate an exploration of the root concept of DSD and its key components through the lens of disabilities in the context of the South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region; 2) think of how we can co-create DSD through theory, practice, lived experiences, and concrete examples; and 3) operationalise DSD via a set of core principles and policy recommendations, which we will also share and build on at the IGF.
Methodology / Agenda (Please add rows by clicking "+" on the right)
Time frame (e.g. 5 minutes, 20 minutes, should add up to 60 minutes) Description
5 minutes Introductions
5 minutes Context setting
30 minutes Moderated panel discussion on the issue:
15 minutes Q&A with the audience
5 minutes Closing remarks
Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)
  • Moderator (Primary)

    • Name: Gunela Astbrink
    • Organization: ISOC Australia
    • Designation: Director
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Australia
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
  • Moderator (Facilitator)

    • Name: Debarati Das
    • Organization: Point of View
    • Designation: Co-Lead, Capacity Building
    • Gender: Non-binary
    • Economy / Country of Residence: India
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: Online
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
  • Speaker 1

    • Name: Srinidhi Raghavan
    • Organization: Rising Flame
    • Designation: Co-Lead, Programmes
    • Economy / Country of Residence: India
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: Online
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
  • Speaker 2

    • Name: Dr. Nirmita Narasimhan
    • Organization: Saksham
    • Designation: Programme Director
    • Gender: Woman
    • Economy / Country of Residence: India
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: Online
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
  • Speaker 3

    • Name: Abia Akram
    • Organization: National Forum of Women with Disabilities, Pakistan
    • Designation: CEO
    • Gender: Woman
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Pakistan
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: Online
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
  • Speaker 4

    • Name: Vashkar Bhattacharjee
    • Organization: Young Power in Social Action
    • Designation: Program Manager
    • Gender: Man
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Bangladesh
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: Online
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
  • Speaker 5

    • Stakeholder Group: Select One
    • Expected Presence: Select One
    • Status of Confirmation: Select One
Please explain the rationale for choosing each of the above contributors to the session.
Srinidhi Raghavan (India), a disabled feminist, writer, researcher and educator working at the intersections of sexuality, gender, disability & technology, co-leads programmes at Rising Flame. She works on deepening conversations around sexuality & disability rights. She’s researched on violence faced by women with disabilities. She assists in coordination of the Feminist Internet Research Network of APC, Women's Rights Programme conducting internet research in the Global South with a feminist approach to inform activism and policymaking.

Vashkar Bhattacharjee (Bangladesh), Program Manager at Young Power in Social Action, manages disability and ICT related activities. He’s the focal person for Digital Accessible Information System and the 2nd Vice President at the Global Alliance on Accessible Tech & Environments. He’s been working as a National Consultant in developing web accessibility with the Access to Information initiative in the PM’s office.

Niluka Gunawardena (Sri Lanka) is an educator, researcher and activist. She’s an MA in Disability and Gender from the University of Leeds, a Visiting Lecturer in Disability Studies at the University of Kelaniya & the University of Colombo and a consultant to the AHEAD project conducted by the Centre for Disability Education, Research, and Practice to create accessible and inclusive learning environments for students at the University of Colombo. She’s on the teaching team of CREA’s Disability Sexuality and Rights Online Institute and SGRI.

Dr. Nirmita Narasimhan (India) is a founding member of the research organization Centre for Internet and Society where she built the Accessibility & Inclusion program on digital accessibility. She’s an expert in policymaking for multistakeholder groups & digital inclusion for persons with disabilities. She’s served on the government committee to draft the National Policy on Universal Electronics Accessibility, the committee to revise the guidelines for Indian government websites and has been involved in drafting of key ICT accessibility policies for the Indian government and other countries.

Abia Akram (Pakistan) is the founder of the National Forum of Women with Disabilities and a leading figure in the disability rights movement in Pakistan and the Asia-Pacific. She was named one of the BBC's 100 Women in 2021. She’s a founding member & coordinator of the Special Talent Exchange Program & the Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United. She’s the chair of the UNICEF Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities and the Women's Coordinator of Disabled Peoples' International in the Asia-Pacific. She was the first woman from Pakistan & the first woman with disability to be nominated to Commonwealth Young Disabled People's Forum's coordinator.

Debarati Das (India) co-leads Capacity Building at Point of View. They primarily work with women, girls, LGBTQIA+ communities and persons with disabilities to build digital resilience, skills and capacities.
Please declare if you have any potential conflict of interest with the Program Committee 2023.
Are you or other session contributors planning to apply for the APrIGF Fellowship Program 2023?
APrIGF offers live transcript in English for all sessions. Do you need any other translation support or any disability related requests for your session? APrIGF makes every effort to be a fully inclusive and accessible event, and will do the best to fulfill your needs.
Sign Language Interpreter and Live Captions on Zoom.
Number of Attendees (Please fill in numbers)
    Gender Balance in Moderators/Speakers (Please fill in numbers)
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