The Fair of Competing Narratives: Civil Society(ies) after NETmundial

//This article is part of a series of posts by Stefania Milan, who is attended the NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance on behalf of CGCS’s Internet Policy Observatory project

In many ways NETmundial provided a forum for a series of competing and intersecting narratives about the internet. Civil society played an active and constructive role in pushing forward a vision of the internet strongly supported by the human rights based framework. There is, however, no such a thing as “a” civil society, but rather a large group of actors with a number of competing views and values. This internal variety should be taken into account in the creation of the new NETmundial Initiative (or GlobalNet, as it might be called) currently being developed under the auspices of the Swiss based World Economic Forum.

In his 2011 article for Foreign Policy Analysis, Daniel McCarthy argued that internet governance (IG) is a “politically contested process of meaning making.” In his view, we ought to look at the narratives, or the “cultural and symbolic understandings surrounding the internet,” if we are to understand…

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Introducing a New Project: The Economic and Social Impacts of Network Disconnection in Pakistan

The Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) at Annenberg is supporting a new study being carried out by The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) in the UK and the NGO Bytes 4 All in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The purpose of the study, the first of its kind, is to gather and present data on the impacts of mobile and internet shutdowns in Pakistan, and on human rights issues such as health, education, and work. The government in Pakistan has often required companies to shut down access to the internet or mobile communications in the interest of public safety and security. This study aims to assist the government and telecommunication companies in developing strategies that are consistent with commitments to protecting human rights and ensuring public safety and security without compromising access to communications. The telecommunications company Telenor Pakistan has agreed to be the subject of the case study, which will reflect on…

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