WSIS+10: Connected, and Unprotected

Will WSIS’s true legacy reflect connected, and unprotected? Shawn Powers, and assistant professor at Georgia State University, discusses the WSIS+10 High Level Event and why its outcomes are troubling for freedom of expression.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in 2015. The original summits—held in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005—were the result of UN General Assembly Resolution 56/183, which summoned the international community to “marshal the global consensus and commitment required to promote the urgently needed access of all countries to information, knowledge and communication technologies for development.” Together, the two meetings brought together over 30,000 participants, including numerous heads of state and globally representative civil society actors from 175 countries. The stakeholders produced the Geneva Plan of Action (2003) and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (2005) pledging, among other things, to promote “the use of ICT-based products, networks, services and applications, and to help countries overcome the digital divide.”

The WSIS summits spearheaded the concept of multistakeholderism and served as the first time an intergovernmental organization allowed non-state actors, including civil society groups and academics, to contribute directly to the decision-making processes (for additional detail, see Marc Raboy and Normand Landry’sCivil Society, Communication and Global Governance). These non-state actors lobbied to expand the scope of the…

Click here to read more. 

Spotlight on African Contributions to Internet Governance Discussions: Part Three: ITU-CWG Internet

Ephraim Percy Kenyanito and Olivia Martin discuss African participation in the Council Working Group on international Internet-related public policy issues (CWG-Internet) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This post was originally published on the Access blog on May 19, 2014 and can be found here. This is the third post in Kenyanito’s series that spotlights “African Contributions to Internet Governance Discussions.” Parts one and two can be found here and here.

As shown in the 2013 African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) Report, African participation in major internet governance discussions is extremely lacking. In 2013, only 29 out of 54 African countries sent representatives to the AfIGF. Of these 29 countries physically present, there were 195 participants, including government officials, representatives from the private sector, civil society, and regional and international organizations.

What does this underrepresentation mean? Do African stakeholders fail to take these discussions seriously or are they are ill-equipped to engage in the various internet governance discussions?

This is the third in a series of blog posts that analyzes common positions and the divergence in views in contributions from African stakeholders to the major international internet governance discussions. Specifically in this post, the focus will be on African participation in the Council Working Group on international Internet-related

Click here to read more.