IGF 2020 WS #105 Designing inclusion policies in Internet Governance

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Session ID:
WS#105

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Event reports

Author:
Amrita Choudhury

The session discussed the various aspects that need to be taken into account when designing and creating inclusive Internet governance policies related to gender diversity, human rights, economic inequality, and connecting diverse communities and markets.

Ms Eileen Cejas (Regional Engagement Director - Latin America and the Caribbean region, Youth SIG) highlighted the need to analyse gender perspectives when drafting Internet policies, and cautioned that a one-size policy does not fit all countries due to their different cultural and multicultural backgrounds. Despite numerous discussions on gender, she observed the tendency of not discussing issues of gender diverse people. Cejas highlighted the need to understand the different points of views, and amplify gender diverse voices.

Responding to the question on how to bring capacity building tools to women and gender diverse people in order to foster their involvement in Internet governance, suggestions shared by participants included: displaying more openness to gender diverse people; listening to what their needs are and then making policy changes; sharing experiences and best practices of what different groups are doing to encourage gender diverse communities; adopting frameworks such as the UN Sendai  Framework  for  Disaster  Risk  Reduction for setting a broader scope for inclusion; making spaces for Internet governance more inclusive and avoiding the tokenism of issues; and encouraging the creation of mentoring circles to mentor gender diverse people.

Ms Meri Baghdasaryan (Steering Committee Member, Internet Governance Youth Coalition on Internet Governance) shared an overview of what governments and human rights organisations need to do to guarantee digital rights for greater inclusion. She emphasised the need of governments to ensure the right to Internet access for all; not shutting down the Internet; promoting digital literacy; providing education on digital hygiene for all age groups; and actively promoting and engaging in multistakeholder processes.

Baghdasaryan further added that digital literacy is important for people to enjoy their digital rights, and that digital literacy curriculums should include the understanding of an individual’s digital rights, such as privacy, data protection, and fundamental rights. People should also be taught how to verify information they receive due to the growing infodemic.

On the question related to the measures and steps governments should take to ensure the protection of digital rights, while regulating harmful online content, suggestions from participants included: the need to create an ombudsman; to hold more public discussions on the issues; to analyse the necessity and proportionality of the interventions; and algorithmic transparency.

Ms Debora Barletta (Senior Trainer, APICE – No Hate Speech Movement Italy) highlighted the issues and techniques for including people from rural, indigenous, and remote areas in digital education and literacy. In terms of the challenges to digital literacy, she highlighted the uniqueness of regions, costs, readiness to join in terms of culture and environment, and the lack of human resources.

She advised the adoption of an intersectional approach to connect such communities, and the necessity to design programmes that respond to the needs of people who are targeted.  Barletta also emphasised the need to understand the meaning of digital literacy, which, in her opinion, means that people know how to act rather than be acted upon.