Move fast and fix policy! Advocacy in an era of rapid change

2 Dec 2022 06:30h - 07:30h

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Rapidly developing regulatory initiatives around the world affect every policy area, from online content moderation to disinformation and data protection. Lack of research, experience, and understanding of policy implications may create ripple effects in other policy areas. For instance, the data privacy act in Kenya provides considerable safeguards for everyday consumers, yet it is cumbersome for media editors that have to stay continuously aware of data protection compliance requirements. Similarly, cybercrime laws in East Africa refer to content crimes and are used to restrict media freedom. 

Government and private sector dominance in internet governance has been increasing. Some argue that governments are evolving and that new regulatory initiatives require creation of multistakeholder councils or consultations. 

Trust is viewed as a vital ingredient in meaningful multistakeholder processes and can be achieved only through long-term open and inclusive relationship building. Inclusion of all stakeholders on national and regional levels is the first step. Empowerment and capacity development of underrepresented stakeholder groups are other integral parts of this process. Cross-learning and cross-collaboration among and between stakeholder groups may result in more meaningful and informed policy making. 

Moreover, it is essential to create spaces for different stakeholders to meet together on a permanent basis. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is considered a great example of an open, impartial, and bottom-up multistakeholder process. However, a wider net should be cast, to include a variety of perspectives and positions on national, regional, and global levels. 

As digital governance space becomes increasingly important for societies, economies, and democracies worldwide, policy making needs to move rapidly while, at the same time, attempting to embrace the open, inclusive, and multistakeholder model.

By Meri Baghdasaryan

WS411 WORDCLOUD Move Fast and Fix Policy Advocacy in an era of rapid change IGF2022