The internet and ESCRs: Working from experience to policy

9 Dec 2016 10:00h - 11:30h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 11th Internet Governance Forum]

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) hosted a roundtable on economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) and the Internet. The session, moderated by Mr Alan Finlay, Project Coordinator ESCR’s, APC, was dedicated to the introduction of the latest edition of the Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) report 2016.

Ms Anriette Esterhuysen, Executive director, APC, talked about the reasoning for annual GISWatch reports and stressed that the civil society perspectives on whether there is progress or not should be captured. She described the format of the report and how it is divided into thematic chapters that report on specific issues. The focus this year is on economic, social and cultural rights. The thematic part is followed by country reports that have a broad range of topics meaningful to the context of the country.

The introductory part was followed by the interventions of more than ten representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Romania, Spain, and Zimbabwe. Some highlights included a case of Zimbabwe where they identified that women were more concerned about privacy and surveillance online and asked for better policies for affordability and access. The Bosnia and Herzegovina representative described a case on the right to culture and how the citizens tried to animate the culture and used the Internet to call people together in order to re-open local museums. The representative of the Spanish report mentioned a project CitizenSqKm. The Costa Rican report asked for deconcentration of IT opportunities (from white men and populated areas) and for women leadership in rural areas.

The third part of the workshop offered interventions by some authors of several thematic parts of the GISWatch report. Ms Avri Doria reported on technical institutions, in particular whether important Internet organizations had any ESCR type of commitment activity. She briefed their findings on ICANN, IANA, ISOC, IETF, IRTF, and RIRs.

Ms Gisela Pérez de Acha, Public Policy Analyst, Derechos Digitales, reported on the impact of free trade agreements for ESCRs on the Internet. Treaties like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) impede the access to culture and the access to scientific knowledge, especially the intellectual property rights.

Mr Stuart Hamilton, Deputy Secretary General, IFLA, talked about the digital heritage challenge. He mentioned the inadequate and outdated copyright system and licensing, interoperability of formats, and the big debate on how to decide what is worth storing for next generations.

Ms Roxanna Bassi, GISWatch report coordinator, APC, concluded the session by thanking all the contributors from 45 countries who support capacity building. The topic for the next year’s GISWatch report should be ‘community networks’.

by Radek Bejdák