KRYSS Network is part of the Feminist Internet Research Network, a three-and-a-half-year collaborative and multidisciplinary research project led by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC).
Image taken from APC website

In this project, we seek to dismantle two dangerous assumptions – 1) that the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression (FOE) are equal for all; and 2) the social media platforms are inherently emancipatory.

The internet and technology once promised us the unprecedented democratising force, a space where everyone can participate equally. It is hailed as the gateway to true freedom of speech where agency is accorded to its users and everyone can be liberated from our bodies and ‘restrictive’ attributes – gender, sexuality, race, religion, class etc.

Given how, historically, neutrality and egalitarian values in effect privilege men and men’s experiences, such assumptions tend obscures more than enables a diversity of voices and inevitably trivialize the cost of online gender-based violence (GBV). For example, an anonymous user is by default deemed as someone who is a man or bodily abled. There is a need to acknowledge the entrenched social and patriarchal power that set the parameters for how free speech is exercised online.

This research seeks to develop substantive evidence that could contribute to the development and refinement of arguments for equal access to the internet as a political space and the exercise of FOE of women and the LGBTQ people. A communication campaign will be developed to disseminate the findings of the research through podcast, social media content and webinar.