Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
This is the third paper in a series of papers prepared for the Southern African Internet Governance (SAIGF) forum that serve as an introduction to the themes to be discussed at the 6th Annual Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi 2011. The papers are structured to reflect the themes of the IGF, which correlate with plenary sessions and related feeder workshops. These papers are intended to provide an introduction to the possible issues to be discussed at the IGF and to stimulate debate during the IGF. The papers raise more questions than they answer and are not intended to inform policy recommendations or provide detailed analysis of any of the issues to be
discussed at the IGF.
What are the most significant Internet Governance Issues that affect security, openness and privacy? According to the Draft Programme for the Nairobi IGF:
“Current examples for discussion are (but not limited to): The role of “new media” / “citizen journalism” and the roles of new media, journalism and citizens' media. Actions taken by a range of Internet actors, in relation to whistle-blower sites - including the the "seizure of" of domain names. The growing importance of information security. Proposals for blocking websites and filtering of networks, and the impacts of action taken to cut access to the Internet for individuals, groups, or entire countries from the global Internet.”
Questions suggested in the programme are:
• “What are the most significant cross-border Internet governance issues that affect security, privacy and openness? What is the role of traditional and new media, journalist and citizen journalist in the Internet 3.0 world?
• Is the ability to read over the Internet essential in a democratic society? What are the implications for Internet governance when online censorship is imposed by the private sector (e.g. a web hosting provider) and not the government? Is it a violation of human rights to cut Internet access that individuals, specific groups or entire countries rely on?
• What are the implications of those actions for online freedom of expression, assembly and association?
• Is the content distribution and communication capacity that the Internet affords important to fostering human rights?” Should we identify self-regulatory policies, regulatory choices and best practices for players in the Internet ecosystem that protect openness, privacy, and security for all individuals?”3