Multi-stakeholder approach and Internet Universality framework advocated by UNESCO at the French Internet Governance Forum
On July 4, Pierre Bonis moderated the plenary session “From Paris to Berlin” comprised of Gunther Gratwohl, Salwa Toko, and Moez Chakchouk, at Université Paris Descartes, for the French IGF
At the French Internet Governance Forum on July 4, 2019, Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, evoked UNESCO’s role in Internet Governance, emphasizing the ROAM (Rights, Openness, Accessible to all, Multi-stakeholder) principles should be followed to tackle the AI related issues, and encouraging the national assessments of UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators in a multi-stakeholder manner by all countries.
“What makes the Internet Universality ROAM-X framework unique and powerful, and thus complementary to other initiatives, is its bottom-up approach, materialized through multi-stakeholder participation. Indeed, the framework is there, but it is up to stakeholders and multi-stakeholder advisory groups to take ownership of the Indicators at the country level and to conduct the assessments – UNESCO standing available to help where needed” stressed Mr. Chakchouk at the plenary session entitled “From Paris to Berlin” moderated by Pierre Bonis from AFNIC.
The Indicators framework is a set of 303 indicators designed to assess the state of Internet development nationally according to the ROAM principles, as endorsed by the 31st Council meeting of UNESCO’s Inter-national Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) in November 2018.
Mr. Chakchouk recalled UNESCO’s hosting of the 2018 IGF and informed the advancement of ongoing assessments of ROAM-X indicators will be presented at the upcoming IGF, held this year in Berlin in November, on the occasion of a “Day Zero” pre-event organized by UNESCO.
Gunther Gratwohl, Deputy Head of Division on Internet Governance and International Digital Dialogue at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, presenting the 2019 IGF, raised key issues that the IGF will strive to address in this fourth consecutive European edition. One of them is looking for a “third way” between the liberal self-regulation paradigm to Internet governance, and the “strict, concentrated” perspective. Another is to balance the multistakeholder approach, trying to conciliate the inclusivity that it fosters with a results-oriented approach. Mr Gratwohl also evoked the main themes of the Berlin IGF, in line with topics discussed last year in Paris – namely digital inclusion, data governance, security, safety, stability and resilience.
Salwa Toko, President of the Conseil National du Numérique, drew attention to the message to be remembered from the Paris IGF: that it is necessary to work for all populations to be included in, and to understand, the ongoing digital transformations. She especially highlighted the critical importance of education, notably as a means to address hate speech online.
Mr Chakchouk fully supported this perspective of leveraging education as a tool to counter hate speech, and added that Internet governance does not limit itself to “regulation” or law-making, as governance involves more diversified actors and approaches – which is in line with the multistakeholder approach.
The same afternoon, Andrea Cairola, Programme Specialist in UNESCO’s Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, in turn advocated non-regulatory good practices for countering online hate speech, during a workshop that discussed how to mobilize civil society and citizens in the fight against dangerous online content. On this topic, UNESCO previously published research in its Internet freedom series: Countering online hate speech and Youth and violent extremism on social media: mapping the research.