Introducing ‘Chaos and Control: The Competing Tensions of Internet Governance in Iran’

//Check out the latest report from Small Media, “Chaos and Control: The Competing Tensions of Internet Governance in Iran.” This project was undertaken with support from the Internet Policy ObservatoryClick here to view the full report.

We’re very excited to present our new report, ‘Chaos and Control: The Competing Tensions of Internet Governance in Iran’, which explores the Islamic Republic’s participation in the global conversation on internet governance.

Our report offers a comprehensive overview of Iran’s engagements with internet governance issues by tracking Iran’s public statements at internet governance forums, studying its delegations to international events, and comparing its international policy stances against its domestic practices.

The report also examines the Iranian public’s engagement with internet governance issues, and the state of multistakeholderism in Iran. The report achieves this by monitoring Iranian press coverage of internet governance debates and appraising Iran’s emerging domestic multistakeholder initiatives.

Here are some of our key findings:

Iran’s primary objective has been to challenge existing internet governance structures, most notably the United States’ privileged position vis-à-vis the IANA and ICANN

Iran has achieved some notable political victories in its campaign against the internet governance status quo. But its victories have ultimately proven hollow, and have failed to secure widespread international backing for Iran’s position.

Secondary objectives have included international development and expansion of filtering capabilities

Iran has consistently stressed its dedication to the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, with the Khatami, Ahmadinejad and Rouhani administrations each clearly advocating for the expansion of internet access in Iran, including ambitious initiatives in rural regions…

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Alternative Internet(s): Governance by Internet Infrastructure

//Francesca Musiani is a researcher with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), affiliated with the Institute for Communication Sciences(ISCC). In this latest post in our series on alternative internet(s), she looks at the implications of governance by control of internet infrastructure. This article was originally posted on the London School of Economics and Political Science’s Media Policy Project Blog and can be found here.

Perhaps due to the snowball effect of the Snowden revelations, never in history have conflicts over Internet governance attracted such widespread attention of policymakers and the general public. The increasing recognition of the Internet as a basic infrastructure supporting economic and social life has also drawn attention to the underlying institutional and technical systems necessary to keep the Internet operational and secure.  An area once concealed in institutional and technological complexity is now rightly bracketed among other shared global issues – such as environmental protection and human rights – that have considerable global implications but are incongruous with national borders.

The broad ecosystem of institutions, laws, and private ordering that keeps the Internet’s infrastructure operational, as well as the enactment of public policy around this infrastructure, is generally called Internet governance. These administrative and coordinating functions have always been instruments of power because…

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Findings of a Survey on Multistakeholder Participation in Internet Governance from an African Perspective

//Enrico Calando of Research ICT Africa presents results from a survey on the perception of African stakeholders on internet governance structures and processes.

An animated discussion on the reasons for lack of African participation in internet governance took place at a roundtable organized by Research ICT Africa at the 2014 IGF in Istanbul.

“There is no coordinated approach nationally or within countries in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region in providing data or research on internet policy” a representative from the government of Malawi said.

Another stakeholder from the private sector said there is “no cohesion amongst all these groups” and a representative from ISOC, despite being regarded as one of the most effective organizations in internet governance acknowledged that “more needs to be done in respect to developing concrete outcomes from these meetings” referring to the IGF.

The debate amongst the largely African audience representing a spread of stakeholder groups was prompted by the presentation of research conducted by the ICT policy think tank in collaboration with NEPAD Agency, on mapping multistakeholder participation in internet governance from an African perspective.

Funded by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania as part of the Internet Policy Observatory project at the Center for Global Communication Studies, the research was conducted through a survey on the perception of African stakeholders on internet governance structures and…

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China’s Opportunity: A ‘De-Americanized’ Approach of Global Internet Governance

//Leshuo Dong is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in international communication at the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University in China. She is currently working with CGCS’s Internet Policy Observatory (IPO) conducting research on Chinese internet foreign policy.

On June 23rd at the ICANN 50 in London, the Director of the China State Council Internet Information Office, Lu Wei, asserted in his keynote speech that the future of global internet governance should be a ‘shared space.’ A few weeks before, at a conference on information and internet security co-hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations deputy minister of foreign affairs of China, officials proposed four principles of internet security : peace, sovereignty, collaboration and benefit. It was previously uncommon for Chinese ministerial level officials to address China’s internet policy to a global audience, but it appears that government strategies surrounding internet policies and rhetoric have changed. These intense articulations of China’s position on internet governance show that China is entering the arena of global internet governance, with a discourse pushing for a ‘de-Americanized’ approach to global internet governance.

While trying to legitimatize governmental control over the internet, the Chinese official discourse framed the internet as a powerful ‘booster’ to China’s reform and a new ‘engine’ to the country’s economic and social development. As a second component, it warns that the internet contains…


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