IGF 2015 – Open mic and taking stock

13 Nov 2015 16:00h - 17:30h

Event report

The Open Forum Master of Ceremonies and Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Programme and Technology Manager, Chengetai Masango, welcomed everyone. Hartmut Glaser of the Brazilian government and session chair then opened the floor for discussion.

A Freedom House fellow gave a statement emphasising the need to prevent the Internet from becoming a tool of repression. He also recommended that the IGF mandate be extended, the voice of civil society be expanded, and universal human rights upheld.

Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, said IGF 2015 was the best IGF he has attended.

Thais, from the Brazilian Youth Delegation, said young people need to be included, as when they complain and protest, they are shut down or told to air their frustration on social media platforms such as Facebook. She said they ‘are not just here for others to see.’

Another speaker from Turkey stressed the need to include more youth, especially in terms of awareness and country-level processes.

Hailey from Hong Kong also spoke about including more youth and overcoming certain obstacles such as language barriers through interactive workshops and more capacity building, underscoring: ‘We’re here because we care.’

Milton Muller from the Georgia Institute of Technology suggested extending more time for the open forum as ‘there’s a lot of pent up energy’. He said the IGF doesn’t really know how to leverage the kind of knowledge that was in the room. He recommended looking at the Net Mundial model and make recommendations and statements instead of simply discussion.

Olivier Crepin-LeBlond, current chair of ICANN’s ALAC, encouraged everyone to join the IGF Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) and the Best Practice Forums (BPFs).

Mary, a delegate from Nigeria, said we need to do more to protect children online. She also stressed that zero rating can be good. She challenged young people to stop abusing people online. ‘Be free but be civil’, she said.

Many other participants spoke, often stressing the need for greater youth involvement.

Nigel Hickson of ICANN encouraged youth to do better than the older generations have done. Let’s take the discussions to communities, to governments, so that things will get better.

When the session had overrun by five minutes, the chair stopped the lines from forming and suggested that all questions be addressed through a dedicated website.

It concluded with a delegate from Mexico describing the tough situation in there, the country which will most likely host next year’s IGF.


By Michael Oghia