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…

Click here to read more.

Internet Governance: The New “Great Game”

John Laprise, an Assistant Professor in Residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, frames internet governance in the context of a “Great Game,” discussing current “players” and their rolls and success in the game thus far.

During the 19th century at the height of the Pax Britannia, Great Britain vied with Russia to preserve its hold on India. This “Great Game” also involved, to a lesser degree, other European states such as France with their own regional interests. The players sought to involve and enlist local leaders and tribes, working to throw their opponents off balance through misinformation and misdirection while avoiding coming to blows directly (though this was not always successful, as seen in the Crimean War). In the end, Great Britain won the Great Game and preserved the Jewel in the Crown.

Fast forward to the 21st century, where we find ourselves in yet another (arguably) monopolar world with real world unrest in the Ukraine. The United States is playing a new version of the Great Game, striving to preserve a kind of internet supremacy, in the face of competition and criticism from other nation states, through subtlety and finesse in much the same way as Britain sought to maintain its hold on India. For players in geopolitics, understanding the rules of the game and the goals of the other players is crucial. Playing a game without knowing the rules or what winning looks like is frustrating and likely results in loss.  It is not apparent that the players…

Click here to read more.

Between Theater and Practice: The Politics of NETmundial

CGCS Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Ben Wagner reflects on the April 2014 NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, discussing the decision making procedures and structure of the meeting.

Despite coming to a close, NETmundial 2014 in São Paulo remains a strange political beast. The organization and decision making-processes involved during the conference itself swung wildly between haphazardly obscure, open and participative, and mere political grandstanding. In a sense, it was great political theater to watch, but it was also deeply frustrating for anyone trying to get anything done.

There has been enough historicizing about what NETmundial was meant to be doing but little conversation on what it was actually doing. While Stefania Milan has already penned an excellent piece on the sociology of NETmundial, a sociology which included a wide array of techno-activist groups previously not present at the table, this post will instead focus on the decision making procedures and structures of the meeting.

Who is Assigned to Seats of Power?

At the outset, it should be noted that there is a substantial legitimacy problem in how the NETmundial Executive Multistakeholder Committee (EMC), the High-Level Multistakeholder Committee (HLMC), and the members of the drafting committee were selected. Some committee members were only informed that they…

Click here to read more. 

Spotlight on African Contributions to Internet Governance Discussions Part 1: NETmundial

Ephraim Percy Kenyanito explores Africa’s participation and contributions in internet governance, focusing on submissions to the NETmundial conference from African stakeholders. This post was originally published on the Access blog on April 14, 2014 and can be found here.

The internet affects every individual in this world whether directly or indirectly. For example, a medical professional somewhere in Goma, Congo might access the internet to read and post reviews to current medication available and this might have an impact on the kind of medication that he/she recommends to the patient, whether the patient has access to affordable internet or not. Since the internet affects everyone, Africans citizens who are aware of internet governance discussions, expect African stakeholders to engage in these discussions.

Specifically, we are looking at African stakeholder’s actions in taking part in positive reform agenda that: preserves the interoperable/global nature of the internet; secures and facilitates the exercise of human rights for all users without discrimination or regard for where they happen to connect; is inclusive in decision-making so that policies reflect the public interest.

One can note that African participation has been low as seen in the 2013 African IGF Report. African IGF…

Click here to read more.

View More