[NRIs] Looking into practices how the Internet impacts and shapes democracy

About this Session
This is a collaborative session organized in a bottom-up, consultative manner by several NRIs. The session is focused on the impact of the Internet on democracy, as explained further below.


Description of the Session
The open Internet and free flow of information online including via social media can lead to open discussions and free deliberations, which are crucial elements for democracy, civil society and governments. Social media tools can even go beyond national boundaries, trigger synergies and create international actions.

Thus, supporting the rights to access, develop and share reliable independent sources of information and to advocate responsibly, can impact democratic norms including in times of crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, or crises related to election campaigns and other forms of political crisis.

This session highlights how the Internet and online resources can have an influence on democracy and on civic engagement as well as big tech companies’ role in safeguarding privacy, safety and democratic deliberations. 

Through the practices of multistakeholder communities gathered around the NRIs, this session will explore local realities related to the following aspects:

  • What are the biggest potentials and threats the Internet has for our democratic development?
  • We saw examples of the Internet and digital technologies impacting election campaigns, supporting people in times of natural crisis and other hazards, to manipulating public opinion. Have we seen examples of successful policies applied in these and similar cases, both to support the good causes and combat harms?

Relation to SDGs

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Access to the Internet is a long-standing recognized accelerator of sustainable development and achieving the SDGs. However, it is of utmost importance to ensure everyone is connected to the Internet and equipped with the skills and resources to meaningfully use it. Most of all, we must ensure the Internet is governed through an effective and acceptable to all mechanism, respective to people’s freedoms and rights and with that to our democracies.

Name(s), Organizational Affiliation(s), Stakeholder and Regional Group of Speaker(s)
The speakers are being delegated by the multistakeholder organizing committees of the NRIs.

Onsite Moderator 
To be updated.

Online Moderator 
To be updated.

Rapporteur 
To be updated.

Session Format
60 Min Round Table or U-shape

Session Interaction and Participation in a Hybrid Meeting
A dedicated online moderator will be placed next to the onsite moderator. All participants will be using the online speaking queue to be treated equally in their requests for interventions. All input presentations will be made available on the IGF website and links will be shared via the online tool. The Zoom and in-room video will be inter-projected to foster a sense of community despite being in different locations.