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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Public Perception of Internet Freedom and Censorship in Pakistan

Arzak Khan, Director and Co-Founder of Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan (iPOP), discusses his research study which aims to investigate in-depth the links between internet usage and public perception towards internet censorship and policymaking in Pakistan.

The aim of this research study is to investigate in-depth the links between internet usage and public perception towards internet censorship and policymaking in Pakistan. Defending the right to freedom of expression has been a long standing tradition in many developed countries, but that has not always been the case in many developing countries where government restrictions on all traditional media are often accepted as a part of life. However, with many Pakistanis getting access to the internet for the first time and becoming connected to a global community, things may be beginning to change. Evidence from the Global South suggests that as a country’s population becomes increasingly connected to the Web, there is growing support for ending government controls and censorship. It is the aim of this project to thoroughly investigate these assumptions and uncover what demand exists for internet freedom and other internet policies.

The increasing use of the internet for democratic movements has resulted in governments around the world cracking down on the web in the form of blanket censorship. Most governments in developing countries such as Pakistan want to regulate the Internet in the way television is regulated. This includes having tighter control mechanisms in the guise of policies protecting national security, religion and society. Before the “Arab Spring,” the Pakistani government was planning on promoting the internet for socio-economic development. However, these policies have not moved forward substantially and broadband diffusion is not taking off as had been predicted. Furthermore, government censorship of the internet has been increasing with the blocking of websites such as YouTube, certain blogs, and Facebook pages. New filtering technologies and mechanisms are being put in place that block not just porn and blasphemous material but also political content and events. Anonymous proxy…

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