[IRP] Final Version of our Report: Values, principles and rights in internet governance

Lisa Horner lisa
Mon Sep 7 16:34:07 EEST 2009

Thanks very much for your kind comments and feedback Robert.  I think
you're right that political economy critiques could come out more
strongly.  It's a really important point that markets don't have much
regard for human rights.  That's why we need some form of positive
action/regulation for public interest communications.

Looking forwards to continuing the dialogue.

All the best,

-----Original Message-----
From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
[mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of
Bodle, Robert
Sent: 06 September 2009 19:27
To: Irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
Subject: Re: [IRP] Final Version of our Report: Values, principles and
rights in internet governance

Re: Praise, kudos, props . . . 

I finally got a chance to read this (9 days later- sounds like a horror
movie), and it's  an awesome document, and I'd agree "a potent policy
advocacy instrument" (IRP's IGF draft report). 

I especially like how this paper moves, starting from its clear purpose,
then parsing the definition of terms, then synthesizing the intellectual
history, the development, and policy implementation of human rights over
the last 100 years. All the while, the article deftly advocates a path
forward, accounting for and often refuting obstacles (legalistic
concerns, cultural critiques, individual vs. collective) to a common
human values approach to internet governance.  The article also makes
nice links between human rights and internet governance (the four layers
of digital communication platforms), namely in the introduction and

The section that is most persuasive and instructive to me, in terms of
making the case, is the section on trans-cultural values (pp. 18-22).  I
also find the pragmatism of 'values first, principles second,' very
useful and convincing;--that there are clear steps to take. 

Re: Readability and readership (audience)
Sophisticated and reader friendly.  As an educator, I will make this
report required reading for any class on digital media or new media
ethics. (A dream class I'd like to teach would be "human rights in the
digital age)."  As a member of IRP it is also an extremely useful primer
for future participation in the coalition. As an advocacy piece it is a
clear call for future governance deliberations and policy-making. 

Re: Suggestions, problems, questions . . . 

There is some recognition of political economy critiques of commercial
media systems that can impede the adoption of universal human rights
principles in internet governance.  For example, you write: 

"Many policy decisions are guided by only a limited number of sets of
general principles. In the case of internet governance, these are too
often related to issues of market competition rather than social and
human interest" (p.15). 

But this critique does not re-appear in the conclusion as an important
issue. One place where this might come back is in the mention of the
free flow of information as a general policy principle (p. 22).  In
terms of both the content and infrastructure layers, the free flow of
information principle was used to legitimate US post-WW II dominance
over world media outlets, extending a commercial model of "marketing and
consumerism onto the world community" (1996, 116).  In other words, the
U.S. rolled out a broadcast infrastructure that encouraged the
consumption of American goods and media content (cultural and economic
imperialism). This commercial or top-down model for global communication
helped provide the preconditions for a corporate global order via a
global media system facilitated by satellites, the internet, and of
course, intellectual property law. 

Commercialization of the internet can pose restrictions to Article 18
protecting the right to freedom of thought, and article 27 the right to
freely participate in the cultural life of the community; for example,
if the web becomes more permission or pay per use based, and thoroughly
colonized by mainstream ad-based portals and technologies of enclosure).
Commercialization of the web may also undermine the intrinsic values and
corresponding rights to Distribution of power and Aesthetics - right to
freedom of expression, and Autonomy - right to think freely. 

This is just to say that general principles of information flows could
continue to be exploited by market forces to subvert human rights
principles with a reassertion of limited market principles.  

[Perhaps this is a quibble that could best be discussed in continued
"trans-cultural dialogue" (p. 23).]

Again, KUDOS to the authors and it's a pleasure to read this and to
participate in the ongoing discussions and workshops to come. 


From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
[irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Max
Senges [maxsenges at gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2009 11:58 AM
To: irp
Cc: governance at lists.cpsr.org
Subject: [IRP] Final Version of our Report: Values,     principles and
rights in        internet governance

Dear All

Attached you find the final version of the report " Values, principles
and rights in internet governance ", on which Lisa Horner and myself
have been working over the last months (with the input & feedback of
many of you). If the attachment didn't get through it's also at

We are quite happy with the result and hope that it will allow us to
move from the debate "what is the rights and principles approach" about
to strategic action advocating better Rights conditions for all net
users around the world.

Even though this is Lisa and my final version, we want to discuss the
piece and incorporate your feedback as we hope to use the report to find
consenus regarding the definitions etc. among our community.

As many of you know IRP has teamed up with APC to review the Internet
Rights Charter. The charter can be one of our core instruments to build
a global alliance and benefit from each others (local/regional) efforts.
Please join us @ the dedicated mailing list
http://lists.apc.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/rights, read the current
version http://www.apc.org/en/node/5677 and start editing the wiki
(after registering) @ http://irc.wiki.apc.org

Both documents will be key themes of our IRP workshop on the 13th of
Sept. just before the EuroDIG

You are all welcome! Please tell us if you are interested in remote

looking forward to your input



Robert Bodle, PhD
Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
Division of Arts and Humanities
College of Mount St. Joseph
Cincinnati, Ohio 45233
(513) 244-4829 (office)
robert_bodle at mail.msj.edu
IRP mailing list
IRP at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org

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