UNESCO invited 30 participants at the Global Media Forum in Bonn (11-13 June) to pair up and discuss recommendations to improve their own country’s experience of the Internet, and to identify the data and indicators that would be needed to make the case.
One team said they would like to see people having an improved ability to assess online information, adding that this pointed to the need for Media and Information Literacy indicators such as the existence of programmes provided by schools, universities, political parties and Internet portal companies.
Another suggestion made was to strengthen digital skills for people over 50 years old, and to assess this as part of mapping the principle of accessibility for all.
Having an indicator to examine protection of youth against criminality online was put forward by another group.
Also proposed by participants was: “Good connectivity – with indicators of speed, quality of service and cheapness”.
The number of free wifi spots was suggested by some as a possible indicator to increase the accessibility of data.
Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, initiated the discussions by providing an overview of UNESCO’s Internet Universality Indicators. These are built on the “ROAM” principles, which advocate for an Internet-based on human Rights, that is Open, Accessible to all, and nurtured by Multistakeholder participation.
The framework also includes cross-cutting indicators that look at issues related to gender and children and youth. The framework of indicators is intended to assist governments and other stakeholders to assess their national Internet environments and develop policies to advance the ROAM principles.
Berger explained that, once finalized, the indicators would be available to any country interested in voluntarily mapping its national experience of the Internet. He elaborated that UNESCO envisaged national processes with a multi-stakeholder committee overseeing the research and convening a validation conference for the findings.
“The data for the indicators can be collected through various methods, including quantitative and qualitative, data analytics, focus groups, surveys and key information interviews,” he said.
By presenting the Internet Universallity indicators at events like the Global Media Forum, UNESCO is popularizing the framework as well as also gathering inputs from stakeholders with different regional perspectives, in order to help fine-tune the indicators to maximise their relevance and impact.