IGF 2023 WS #504 Multilateral vs. National Approaches to Online Safety


Avoiding Internet Fragmentation
International Legal Perspectives

Organizer 1: Raúl Echeberría, 🔒
Organizer 2: Rachael Stelly, 🔒Computer & Communications Industry Association
Organizer 3: Alexandre Roure, 🔒CCIA

Speaker 1: Raúl Echeberría, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Jason Pielemeier, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Guilherme Canela Godoi, Intergovernmental Organization, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Rachael Stelly, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Alexandre Roure, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Rachael Stelly, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Panel - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How are different regulators approaching the issue of online harms around the world, and what are the different ongoing initiatives that seek to set a baseline (the OECD, G7, UNESCO)?
B. What are the benefits of a harmonized approach and where national approaches align with global goals? What are the limitations, in light of regional diversity and different legal systems?
C. What do we mean by online safety? Is there value in defining narrow subject-specific issues where global cooperation is needed or most helpful? If so, how can we develop definitions that are future-proof and allow for technological developments?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will be provided a general overview of the different approaches to addressing safety online, from a national standpoint and the various initiatives taking place at the multilateral level. In addition to regulatory frameworks, the private sector will also provide a response to how companies are adapting to these new risks. Representatives from the civil society and academia can speak to the risks if stakeholders don't strike the right balance between ensuring a safe environment online and freedom of expression.

The key takeaway from the discussion will be how all these different perspectives feed into work streams around the world, and hopefully gain takeaways that will better inform ideas for targeted action.



We are working with Asociación Latinoamericana de Internet (ALAI), (Regional Group: Latin American and Caribbean) as a co-host for the panel.

Many around the world are acting quickly to craft new rules and regulatory frameworks for how online services should address harmful content and ensure safety for all that use their services. The motivation to act quickly from so many makes clear the central role the Internet and social media services play in the daily lives of all citizens, as well as the new challenges companies are facing today that require more frequent adaptation of their terms and services. The EU was a significant first mover with the Digital Services Act, but many are looking to quickly adopt similar approaches including in India, the UK, and Brazil.

Parallel to these national debates, work continues at the multilateral level to identify commonalities among historical and new approaches to addressing online harms. The OECD has done important benchmarking work on company practices to address specific types of harmful content, the G7 has outlined principles for firms to take prompt action on specific content, and UNESCO this year has released draft Guidelines for Digital Platform Regulation. Companies continue to adapt their practices in light of new challenges, and improve transparency about their actions.

It’s important to level set and have a discussion not only on the specific rules relevant to new approaches to content regulation, but from a structural level, who should be setting the standards or baseline? This panel seeks to take a balanced approach on the benefits and limitations of the various options.

Panelists include representatives from academia, civil society, government, and the private sector. A representative from the Japanese government has been invited and organizers will coordinate to ensure that this perspective is added to the discussion.

Expected Outcomes

The discussion would help inform policy discussions taking place at the national, multinational, and IGO forums.

Hybrid Format: Short three to five minute presentations made by the speakers will open the discussions and encourage contributions. 80 % of the time of the workshop will be allocated to open discussions. On spot and online participants will be encouraged to present their views and possible solutions.

There will be a ratio of ½ between time allocated for interventions of online participants and time allocated to on site participants. The moderator proposed for the workshop is experienced and undertook similar positions in other workshops.