[IRP] IRP Statement to Open Consultation for IGF 2010 [v2]
M I Franklin
Thu Jan 14 23:29:51 EET 2010
In order to allow time for any last input, see below; new order of
appearance, some rephrasing, and a couple of additional comments (See 1c; .
Last round for comments (inclusions)!
Open Consultation IGF 2010
INTERNET RIGHTS AND PRINCIPLES DYNAMIC COALITION Statement
The comments below from the Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic
Coalition are our contribution to the Open Consultations for IGF 2010. Each
of the four themes below take stock of IGF 2009 by offering practical
suggestions for the format and planning of IGF 2010.
1) Emerging Key themes: A wide range of stakeholders in the plenary
sessions reaffirmed the importance of upholding human rights in the
internet age. However these sentiments tended to be expressed in general
rather than specific terms.
a. The challenge for this coming year is to focus on how upholding human
rights can be achieved in practice; what roles different stakeholders can
or should play in this regard, and how these play out more specifically in
different Internet governance issue-areas.
b. With this in mind we would like to see not only workshops but also main
sessions that look more closely at what a 'human rights agenda', or
'development agenda for Internet Governance' might actually look like.
Whilst openness and diversity continue to be important issues, we think
this year is the moment to broach more specific questions or policy
dilemmas within these broader themes
c. The coalition is ready and willing to contribute to organizing and
facilitating main sessions along these Human Rights related themes.
2) General Organization: Generally speaking coalition members found the
meeting to be well organised, with signs of continued progress in all
aspects. Coalition members who were participating in or who organised
workshops would like to commend the organisers for their good work in this
regard, particularly given the relatively limited budget and resources
available to the IGF. Aspects that could be paid more attention this year
a. Discussions, especially in plenary sessions tended to become diverted
into the issue of whether the IGF should continue, and if so, how. This is
a key issue however we think it is important to avoid having these issues
sidetrack the topics on hand in main sessions and workshops this year.
b. Continuity and more linking between the main sessions and the workshops
could be strengthened. Clear links in the program by cross-referencing of
session/workshop themes and titles is one way to create these links before
the meeting. During and after the meeting, we would like to see formal
feedback opportunities put in place and integrated into the stocktaking;
from organizers and/or moderators of both main sessions and workshops.
c. Main sessions based around 'classic' themes of openness, diversity, and
such like need to be supplemented and reinvigorated by including new themes
onto the program. The need for continuity and in-depth discussions of
ongoing themes need to be balanced by new themes as well for this is a
d. Some panels in main sessions were overloaded with panellists. This
always means less time for a wider plenary discussion. We realise that
larger panels allow for a greater diversity in some cases. However we would
urge moderators of larger sessions to ensure that there is enough time for
discussion and that when discussion takes place it is dynamic and inclusive
of panellists and other participants. It is important that contributors
from the floor as well as from remote participants get enough time to have
their say and be adequately responded to by panellists and other
e. In light of the above we would also like to see more innovative panel
formats encouraged; modelled on town-hall meetings, brainstorming, and
other sorts of small-group, or interactive forms of discussion for
instance. Formal panels have their place but good work is also done in
small groups/break-out sessions as well.
f. Rather than having main sessions largely based around broad themes, we
think this year is the moment to broach more specific questions or policy
dilemmas. These can be proposed in advance with an eye to opening up the
discussion about specific solutions before the actual session.
3) Remote Participation: On the whole the facilities for remote
participation seemed to work well. However, there are some specific issues
that we think need to be attended to this year to ensure fuller and more
diverse participation in the IGF.
a. Workshop organisers were not given enough support in good time or
enough information on how to use the technology provided properly. When
technical hitches did occur, there were not enough technicians on hand so
many moderators found themselves in the role of do-it-yourself technical
supporters. This causes delays, frustration and a loss of focus for
everyone. More information in advance from the IGF in liaison with the
Vilnius venue organisers would be useful. But also during the event, and
given the importance of enabling remote participation but also having it
run smoothly, the need for more dedicated staff in this respect is
b. We would also suggest, in line with suggestions from the Remote
Participation Working Group (RPWG), that Workshops include both a moderator
on-the-ground and an online moderator in their planning. Some-one needs to
monitor remote participation, in partnership with the workshop moderator,
in order to streamline, filter and facilitate remote participation in the
proceedings; e.g. by gathering text-based comments, setting up a queue for
spoken interventions, or having remote participants be given the floor en
bloc if this is more practicable. We would also urge all moderators to
understand the many remote participants are doing this at difficult times
of their 24 hour day and that time-lags require careful attention be paid
to timing responses and requests by moderators on the ground.
c. The above points underscore our support for proposals to organise
adequate guidelines as well as a brief training session/module/virtual tour
for all moderators before the IGF meeting. During the meeting is not the
time to experiment.
4) Participation: Increasing diversity in terms of cultural, regional, and
linguistic representation remains a core issue for a number of dynamic
coalitions. Our comments and suggestions about continuing to improve remote
participation technically and organizationally relate to these concerns.
Practically there is a need to
a. Setting up coherent - vertical and lateral - links between discussions
and themes from national, regional and international IGFs better, during
the meetings as well as in the record of these various meetings. At present
the public record is piecemeal and not easily accessible. We recognise that
this is process that needs dedicated time and resources to do so and urge
the IGF to put aside some resources for this.
b. Find more ways to open up the meetings to lay-participants. By this we
mean that preparatory consultations, main sessions, and specialised
workshops need to be more accessible to 'everyday internet users', any
interested communities or groups from areas where the Internet is either
less extensive or who have other communication priorities.
Dr Marianne Franklin
Convener of the Transnational Communications & Global Media Program
Media & Communications
Goldsmiths, University of London
London SE14 6NW
Tel (direct): #44 (0)207 919-7072
Fax: #44 (0) 207 919-7616
email: m.i.franklin at gold.ac.uk
More information about the IRP