This report is the third in a series that examines public attitudes and preferences about Internet censorship and regulation in states in which media and Internet use are subject to increasing restrictions.
How is the momentum toward multistakeholderism in Internet governance playing out in Latin America? What broader implications does this have to open democracy in the region? In this report, Internet Policy Observatory affiliate Celia Lerman, analyzes the distinct evolution of the multistakeholder model in the context of Latin America’s democracies, which traditionally have not incorporated deliberative processes and multistakeholder participation into governance structures. Lerman asserts that this evolution can be explained by the effect of external events rather than by internal driving forces, concluding that this policy evolution moved from the international to the regional and national due to the fact Internet policy issues only recently became a matter of perceived importance to citizens in the region. The study looks at Latin America as a whole, highlighting several national case studies and exploring in greater depth Brazil’s much earlier adoption of the multistakeholder model.
The role of the Internet as a fundamental tool for communication and empowerment is one that should not be inhibited as the limitless nature of the medium allows for a broader, unfiltered, and more democratic exchange of information. These features become increasingly important in conditions where the mainstream media are unwilling or unable to provide the public with the information necessary to function as democratic citizens and maintain political accountability. Though an open Internet tends to be valued by more democratic governments, the percentage of countries adhering to the standards of open and free media is dismally low. In a majority of countries, governments maintain a stringent level of control over many of the mainstream information outlets, making the Internet a vital source of alternative information for the people living within these environments.
It is often said that you can see the Great Wall of China from the space- it turns out it is a myth. But you can surely see China’s Great Firewall from world maps illuminating Facebook traffic. The gaping hole of darkness, in the land with the world’s largest internet population, shows the impact of China’s internet censorship. The Great Firewall of China (known as GFW) blocks foreign websites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It also monitors internet conversations through keyword filtering.