Living in: Cape Town, South Africa
Nationality: South African
Gabriella is a law graduate working at the Open Democracy Advice Centre as the Director and Head of Legal Research. She has a BA LLB from the University of Cape Town, graduating with distinction in Sociology. She formerly clerked with Justice Yacoob of the Constitutional Court and has also worked with University of Witwatersrand. Gabriella has a particular focus on access to information, open data and freedom of expression issues.
She is a Founding Director of OpenUP, an Internet Governance Fellow and an alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (Global Digital Leader). Gabriella is also the chairperson of the African Platform on Access to Information Working Group.
Furthermore, she has published a variety of articles and publications, largely aimed at providing evidence-based advocacy responses for human rights activists in the information and Internet sphere. Some examples include:
- Razzano, G. (2016) ‘Connecting the Dots: the coordination challenge for the Open Government Partnership in SA’, South Africa: making all voices count Link
- Razzano, G. (2016) Heroes Under Fire”, South Africa: Link
- Razzano, G (2016) ‘Human Rights and Internet in Africa: a reflection trends’, FesMedia Africa Series, Link
- Razzano, G. (2016) ‘(Re)claiming through (re)framing: Interrogating power, information, and distortion from civil society’, in GGLN(2016) (Re)Claiming Local Democratic Space Link.
- Razzano, G (2015). Considering The Open Government Partnership in ContextLink
I am a human rights activist, lawyer and researcher who has been driving digital learning in the human rights realm, not just through access to information and open data - which are my specialised areas of interest - but through all of the intersections where the Internet has begun acting as a further jurisdiction in which inequalities are realised.
I want to focus on inequality in my studies for the very reason that the world isn’t getting fairer – particularly in Africa. The Internet, once idealistically viewed as foretelling a new era of fairness, also has the potential to exacerbate the pre-existing inequalities of the “real world”. When people have talked about equality and Internet in the past, the conversation has often centred on “equal access” to Internet. Yet stopping the conversation there is premature; we know that the inequalities that exist in the physical world perpetuate themselves online, too. Inequalities often profoundly influence who speaks, when, and how often. In other words, it’s not just about having the access to the conversation – it is also about how, or if, we can participate in that conversation. I am determined to bring a greater understanding to substantive equality in the realm of the Internet for improving the lives of South Africans.