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IGF 2017 - Day 0 - Salle 6- The Battle for Freedom of Expression Online: Where are the Journalists?

 

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Welcome, everyone.  Really glad to see you here on the morning of Day 0 at the IGF.  We are going to be talking about the role of journalists in Internet Governance.  The title of this panel session is The battle for freedom of expression online:  Where are the journalists?.  We have what I think is a really exciting panel to talk about this.  And first off, I guess I'll introduce myself.  I am Daniel O'Maley.  I am from the Center for International Media Assistance, which is a media development think tank based in Washington, DC associated with the National Endowment for Democracy.  So we work on producing reports and analysis of how to foster media development worldwide, and you know, and obviously the role of the Internet in Internet Governance is playing a bigger role in that as we move forward.  So that's kind of where our organization's interest in this is. 

My co-moderator, Andreas. 

>> ANDREAS: Thank you, Dan.  I've always pronounced your name Daniel O'Malley.  I am sorry about that.  Now I know. 

I work for a media development press freedom organization.  We are based in Copenhagen, but we work with journalists and human rights defenders in countries of conflict and in some of the more repressive regimes around the world.  I am very pleased to be co-moderating this session, and I think the panel almost speaks for itself, but I will have them introduce themselves, I think, is one way to kick us off. 

We have Rachel from UNESCO.  Do you want to --

>> RACHEL POLLACK ICHOU: Yeah, sure.  I will try to keep it short.  I can ramble on about all the wonderful things about UNESCO if you'd like to hear more, you can also ask me later. 

So I work with UNESCO is the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.  What's left out of the acronym is communication and information, which is where I work.  And we are the UN specialized agency with a mandate to promote press freedom, freedom of expression I should say, and as part of that we also work to promote press freedom, universal access to journalism, and related rights. 

So just to say very quickly, and again, happy to add more later, at this IGF, UNESCO will be organizing a number of events that may be of interest to you.  We have this nice little brochure that you can see, but this afternoon there will be a session on meaningful multistakeholder mechanisms in Internet Governance.  I think that's one topic that we may address in this panel as well about the importance of the multistakeholder model of Internet Governance.  And to say as a general frame, UNESCO's approach to Internet-related issues falls under what we call Internet universality and the Rome Principles.  You may be hearing that from some of my colleagues later this week.  That means that we support an Internet that is human rights-based, open, accessible to all, and based on multistakeholder participation.  So that will be this afternoon.  We are also working on a project to define Internet universality indicators.  Some of you in the media development community may know about our media development indicators, which were endorsed in 2008 by UNESCO's international program for the development of communication.  They've now been used for national assessments in about 20 countries, and at the moment, we are working to develop similar indicators for Internet universality. 

One issue that I am especially, say, involved and excited about is our research on world trends and freedom of expression and media development.  We also have this very nice brochure with lots of colorful infographics that gives a kind of big-picture overview of what's happening in media freedom, pluralism, independence, and the safety of journalists, and looking especially at emerging digital era trends.  So we'll have a workshop on that Thursday morning, which I will moderate, and if any of you are -- hopefully many of you will still be here on Thursday.  I very much encourage you to come to that. 

So thank you, and I think I'll leave it there for now. 

>> CHIRANUCH PREMCHAIPORN: Hi, everyone.  Okay.  I am Chiranuch Premchaiporn from Thailand.  I work for the organization called Foundation for Community Educational Media, in short-term FCEM, and we run a Web site to promote freedom. 

I started the organization because I was arrested and prosecuted on media liability, and because of that, I was invited to take part in IGF, the first time I heard about IGF.  So right now, the case is over.  One case is over.  But after the IGF, I got second arrest at the airport after that.  So this is quite a personal experience regarding to the IGF.  Yeah.  Which I think most people probably have no chance to take part or participate in this Internet Governance Forum or maybe never heard about it, as I suppose.  Thank you. 

>> MIRA MILOSEVIC: In my previous life, I was a radio journalist, and I ran a media center for media, so that's my obsession with microphones. 

(Laughter)

Now I run a Global Forum for Media Development, which is a network of more than 190 organizations, such as international media support and Center for International Media Assistance, and organizations like Chira's.  We also cooperate with UNESCO very closely and with other stakeholders in supporting journalism around the world and development of news ecosystems that create informed communities and prosperous societies.  And we believe that without freedom of expression and media and journalists that inform people and communities, we will not have a just and equal world. 

So now we are looking at Internet Governance and all the layers of Internet, and its impact on freedom of expression and media development.  So it's our job to work together with all stakeholders, especially with journalists, to find ways for them to have their role in the future of information. 

So, so much for now.  I give microphone to Dan now. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great.  Thank you.  That was a very great introduction.  As you can see, we have a lot of different perspectives here, people who can talk about this issue from a different angle. 

And I think the first question that I'd like to toss out to you is really about what you were mentioning in multistakeholder governance and the role of journalists.  I think that, you know, Andreas and I were looking online on the list of registration of IGF before we got here, and I think how many official journalists were listed? 

>> About a dozen. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Yeah, about a dozen or so of a really large conference.  It gives you a sense of coverage of IGF is not really well covered.  Of course, we do have a number of journalists that are here in different capacities, such as media activists, but in general, you know, in my experience last year at Guadalajara was that issues that affect the media beyond freedom of expression and censorship, which are being dealt with, but other issues about news media, how do we ensure citizens get high-quality information and news, those kind of issues aren't really being addressed in these multistakeholder forums. 

So I want to kind of open it up first, you know, what is the role of a journalist or people from a news media perspective in these kind of forums? 

Rachel, would you like to? 

>> RACHEL POLLACK ICHOU: Yeah.  I will speak not as a journalist but part of an organization that very much advocates for the interests of journalists, freedom of expression, and media development.  that's an interesting observation you made about only 12 media being registered to cover this.  I think clearly there is a role for media in covering issues related to Internet Governance, whether that's about censorship, surveillance, or changes, and now net neutrality is a big topic, of course, over the last couple of weeks.  And I think the challenge for journalists -- again, this is not from personal experience, but let's say as an opener, is first to understand the range of issues, so many things are covered within the basket of Internet Governance, and they are so quickly change.  There is a special vocabulary of acronym soup, that you need both the technical knowledge and also the background, and to have developed sources.  And in this complex community of what some could call the flying circus of Internet Governance events, it's very hard, I think, to keep track of all of that, but it is important because these are complex issues, and individual readers and viewers and citizens, in order to understand how these issues actually impact their own lives, need to have credible, verified news and so I think that's one side. 

The other side which I think is an interesting question we had raised before is besides covering Internet Governance topics, what perspective can journalists bring into debates, into the Internet Governance discussions?  I find it quite interesting that within the MAG, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the IGF, there's now a stakeholder group for media, which I believe is represented now by Jean Paul of the European Broadcasting Union, and that's a new development.  But I think for me personally, it's very interesting to hear about how when we talk about kind of very large and somewhat abstract issues of intermediary liability or the effect of surveillance on freedom of expression, and we have conceptually believe that it has a certain effect, but I think there's a lot of value in hearing directly from journalists themselves about how it's impacted your work, about how the threat of being arrested, being in prison, receiving also online harassment, especially of women journalists, how that really affects you, and not only for us as media development organizations to talk about the effect it has, but to really hear from the people directly impacted. 

So now I'd love to hear your perspective as a journalist. 

>> Oh, I think like as a journalist, right now I think we cannot deny that the Internet is a platform, and the platform to publish our story and also the infrastructure for us to when we want to cover or conduct some investigative journalist, especially cross-border collaboration, Internet makes this happen, makes this possible.  That's a very crucial thing. 

So for me, as a journalist, the Internet is also important that we need to protect this platform to keep it open and to keep it in the structure of the decentralization rather than the structure of concentrated power. 

I think a few years back I had an academic seminar in people involved in research on Internet Governance about the freedom of expression.  The moderator asked me if I have to choose like the authoritarian government or IT conglomerate to rule the Internet, which one I choose.  I said neither of them I choose because it's supposed to be -- to belong to people, not to the company, and not to the authoritarian government to control the Internet. 

So this is a very important point which I think right now if you look into the online, is the media.  In Thailand this week is big news about the longstanding of the popular Magazine going to shut down.  They are already there for 37 years, and just by this year, ten well-known magazines shut down, closed down. 

One of the reasons, one of the scapegoats, because people change their lifestyle, they don't need to read the paper anymore.  So I think this kind of thing is, as a journalist, we know that this is a crucial platform that we need to keep it open, and we can, like, be involved how to make this meaningful for us, not just only for the money or power.  That's all for now. 

>> Can I ask you a follow-up question?  As a journalist who runs or is director of a news Web site, do people care about it?  I mean, argue plea, Internet Governance, there are lots of angles to it you could take which would be interesting, and argue plea they are all important.  That doesn't necessarily mean that people care.  So as a journalist, that's a big challenge, both to make your editor care but also to make your audience care about issues that affect them deeply, but how do you deal with that? 

>> It's a big challenge because I think even among my editorial team, just a few who understand, although we are focused on the freedom of expression, the rise of the people's right to know.  Still just only I think you can say one or two of my journalists can understand to cover this, and to understand how important are these issues.  And when we talk about journalists in general, especially from the mainstream media also, it's difficult for them.  Like I said in the beginning, if I didn't be forced to be involved in this, I would probably also have no idea about what Internet Governance is important or means to us.  Even when I attended the first Internet Governance, my first time in the Internet Governance, I still kind of like got for a few years before I find out how to get involved back home.  So it's still not easy, and the issue is complex. 

Right now, I think some journalists also in my organization, we also cover something related to the Internet Governance, but we didn't mention the term "Internet Governance."  We talked about censorship, we talked about surveillance, privacy, any kind of like new regulation, some regulations that happened in the U.S. that also can be the good or bad example in Thailand.  Those are some of the issues that we tried to make it. 

I also agree that if the media or journalists participate more in Internet Governance, it can take some kind of room for the general public to understand or to be involved with this issue more.  Because I remember the first time when I participated in Internet Governance, I felt like I got lost.  It's kind of like the TED Talk or the businessman talks, where I position or where I stand.  I think I also understood where the average fellow cannot participate or take part in this.  It's too difficult or the gap is too big. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: That's really fascinating, and I want to pick up on the point that you mentioned about this Thai magazine that is essentially closing because they are not able to sell enough copies to support the actual magazine in production.  So in large part, this is because of the distribution mechanism is now done on the Internet and people aren't buying copies. 

And I think that this is also an issue doctor we oftentimes in these forums focus on surveillance, on censorship, freedom of expression, but there's also the fact that the way that the Internet is governed,  the new commercial entrants that Chira was mentioning, are reshaping our ecosystem and how news platforms are able to maintain themselves.  I think that's something that also needs to be addressed from a media sector perspective.  I was wondering -- I know this is something you thought about, Mira, before -- how is it that journalists should maybe perhaps try to cover this type of change in a different way, even if it seems like they are kind of covering themselves?  Is it trying to develop more coalitions with other actors or stakeholder forums to push for media plurality and transparency?  What are your thoughts on this issue? 

>> MIRA MILOSEVIC: That's a very difficult question.  And you just mentioned it.  When journalists even come to events like this, they are -- like the whole Internet optimized for -- optimized for technology and for tech talk, and the whole debate around Internet Governance and Internet itself was optimized for algorithm, technology companies, logical layers of Internet, and even intermediaries that work with media are still very much optimized for their own kind of how easy it is for them to manage information that they handle. 

So for me, you mentioned a question about money and power.  For me that's one of the most important discussions, and we rarely have them.  Unfortunately, journalists are in a very weak position at the moment when it comes to power, even within their newsrooms they have very low salaries, they have most of them very bad contracts.  In some of the countries like Balkan countries, where I come from, most of the journalists are working on some kind of temporary contracts with no social protection.  Et cetera, et cetera.  Content is becoming less and less valued by the institutions and organizations.  There are so many pressures.  Corruption is a huge problem. 

So going back to point where we are now, there are some opportunities and there's some shifts of power that we, I think, all think journalists can actually take action and contribute to their position changing.  So one huge shift that is happening around the world is the shift of trust from institutions to individuals.  And there's a huge crisis of trust in institutions.  But still some of the journalists nowadays enjoy high trust from communities and audiences, especially local communities like, you know, where you interact with them, you work with them, you provide them information that's very important for their lives. 

So that's one layer where the power is shifting.  The other layer where power is not shifting but could be shifting is in treatment of content, and that's where Internet Governance, we think, is crucial at the moment.  So far we have been valuing content on the Internet that's quick, easy, sensationalist, it's brought us to this point in time where fake news is a serious issue.  That's because the whole system values click over content, values page views over engagement.  And there is a shift there where there is now a movement within the metrics community, the research community, and it's possible with the algorithms and artificial intelligence we have today to measure true engagement and value of the content for the audiences.  And that's where I think journalists are crucial in this debate of Internet Governance, kind of pushing for what they do the best, and that is producing good content, pushing for that content to be recognized as the most valuable piece of the puzzle when it comes to freedom of information and informing community and citizens.  And that's just starting now, but making people aware that they can actually prove that their content -- good content investigative journalism is valuable I think is something that we will be all working for over the next years. 

>> So I want to touch on the fascinating topic that you mentioned, Rachel, the multistakeholder governance, which I always find in this type of situation is one of those things that I love in theory but, in practice, especially if you want to have not just journalists who are able to afford to attend and who are able to spend the time to, you know, achieve the technical skill and expertise that it takes to not only cover these, but also engage, as you are. 

I am going to ask a leading question.  Are we, as media development groups and others, engaged in promoting, you know, our partners' participation in these forums doing enough?  And if not, what more can we do?  Does that make sense? 

>> RACHEL POLLACK ICHOU: Yes, I think so. 

>> To equal the footing in this rather unbalanced multistakeholder -- which sometimes it is --

>> RACHEL POLLACK ICHOU: Yeah, so your leading question.  Of course, everything is perfect, and you guys are doing a wonderful job. 

No, I think there's more, of course, that could be done.  I actually only learned this morning about CIMA's program, together with Article 19, to bring fellows to the IGF and bring journalists here.  So, of course, I think that's extremely important.  Any support that can -- it's always quite expensive to travel across the world, and especially in a city like Geneva, even if Jorge will say it's not more expensive than other cities in Europe, but yes, it is.  Anyway, I think that's part of it, definitely, is being present.  Another part is capacity building and education of having the knowledge, the tools.  I think we could do more in developing syllabi in journalism schools to teach Internet Governance, to teach some basic technical knowledge.  Not everyone needs to become a computer scientist, but to know generally the technical side and the political or geopolitical questions that are involved as well.  I think there's also an idea that I just had yesterday, and maybe it's something we could actually further develop, is to build an expert roster of people who could be interviewed on Internet Governance topics and one that could be a sort of side issue, but UNESCO we are very interested in gender equality and gender equality in and through the media.  And so developing a roster that's both gender balanced and geographically diverse that you could search by topic, by region, by language, and journalists would have a place to go I think would be very valuable. 

There are existing initiatives that I think are quite good.  At noon there will be -- I am always plugging sessions -- there will be a session on GIPO, the global Internet Policy observatory led by the European Commission.  they have some great resources.  Also, dip low Foundation, especially this week, you will see with the just-in-time reporting, and what they have done is they work with what they call assistant curators of the digital watch observatory who are already at Internet Governance events and who take notes and report on the sessions, and then they produce them.  So I think that's another way is to empower maybe not only professional journalists, but also we could call them citizen journalists, or it can be students, it can be civil society.  And so that we at UNESCO see journalism in today's world as nod -- you don't need to have a degree or a license, by any means very much anyone can practice journalism, and it's about the function and we call social -- we have a very diplomatic way to say this -- social media producers who generate a significant amount of journalism deserve the protection of journalists for their safety.  But still, they -- in order to work effectively, should follow the same principles of objective -- verified, credible news-gathering practices to present a variety of perspectives, as I said, to verify, to protect the confidentiality of their sources in the same way that professional journalists do. 

So that's a very long-winded way to say that I think there are many prongs that can -- that it's both through helping to bring journalists to Internet Governance events, to giving them the skills, the knowledge, the capacity to report, to empowering citizen journalists or bloggers.  And then a last point I would say kind of brought up partnerships with international institutions like UNESCO or coalitions like GFMD, media development organizations, but I think also the big Internet companies.  And they, I think, have -- are now facing increased pressure after some contested elections and referendas last year and now realize the prevalence of disinformation or so-called fake news and have engaged in partnerships like the News Integrity Initiative by Facebook or media and information literacy.  So I think there's a lot of potential for collaboration between journalists and media organizations and Internet companies. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: That's really great. 

I think now that we would like to open this up to questions in the audience.  I know that we have a lot of people who have been thinking about these issues, a lot of people with expertise on these issues, and we are really hoping this will be kind of more of an interactive kind of discussion about how we can place news media concerns on the agenda Internet Governance, and I think it's a great time to talk about it here on Day 0 as we are preparing for four days of IGF. 

So we'll go here in the back. 

>> (?).  The lady, Rachel, I think, from UNESCO, referred to journalists, and she added "especially women."  Can she elaborate on that? 

>> RACHEL POLLACK ICHOU:  Sure.  So we've seen an increase arise in online sexual harassment and abuse of women journalists.  This is an issue that's gotten increased attention in the last few years.  The UN secretary general has an annual report on the safety of journalists, and this year it focused on the safety of women journalists.  It's something that at UNESCO we had recently a resolution adopted at our general conference, which is every two years, and again, this issue was highlighted.  And because I have -- at UNESCO, my work has centered on research, and I have to say that there is not a lot of comprehensive empirical research and information about this issue.  I think it's something that especially anecdotally, we have many extreme cases of female journalists who were reporting on various issues and then receive rape threats or receive -- I see you want to add maybe a follow-up on this?  Maybe I will finish very quickly.  doxxing is another, where their personal information about their home address, their phone number is published online. 

The studies I have seen that are the most, let's say, comprehensive, are for example The Guardian published -- they did some big data analysis of all the user-generated comments on their Web edition, and I am maybe forgetting the details, but it was something like out of the top ten journalists who had received the most hateful messages, eight of them were women, and two were -- yes. 

>> I did not expect that comprehensive reply, but the rationale behind my question, I mean, is not just the ratio of women journalists versus men journalists who are arrested, et cetera.  The rationale is that I am a journalist, and I attend the WSIS process from the onset.  And as you rightly stated, journalists do not attend WSIS process, do not attend IGF meetings, and there must be a reason for that.  Either they are beside the point or you are beside the point or both or maybe another type of explanation.  But still, I will tell you why I ask you this question.  To me, as a practicing journalist who has never heard of any of your organizations except UNESCO, the enemy is neither the authoritarian Government of Thailand nor the gaffa, et cetera.  it is organizations like UNESCO and most of you.  Why?  Because obviously, UNESCO -- and I am not joking -- you always come -- I know you by heart.  There is one exception.  It is Mr. Frank LaRue.  My kindest regards to Frank LaRue.  But otherwise, you come year after year with in your mind the checklist of politically correct keywords, and I assume that (?) and especially women are part of this checklist.  And to me, this is the end of thinking.  This is the end of civilization.  And

So I say that not to list a bunch of insults, but just from fairness, frankness, to know how the only journalist who was silly enough to come up and listen to you, what is his own frame of mind as a starting point.  I am quite ready to become a comrade in arms with you over the years, but the starting point is a starting point of head-on collision.  And

And I will just make a last remark.  Apparently you don't know that in this country, the big hot issue, Switzerland, the model democracy, is a campaign, a ballot to be due soon whether we shall demote the public radio television.  It is a big hit in this country, and it shows how difficult it is to give content to community or people siding with people with media because half of the public opinion think that public radio and television is the best friend of the people, and half think it is the arch enemy of the people.  It is the same with UNESCO. 

So I have told you the basic --

>> RACHEL POLLACK ICHOU:  Thank you.  that's a very interesting perspective, and I would be happy to speak with you more afterwards.  ADG LaRue will be here at the IGF if you would like to speak with him.  The issue of online harassment of women journalists is something he cares very deeply about and may be able to convince you as a comrade in arms on the subject. 

>> Here in front. 

>> (Off microphone)

>> Microphone. 

>> COLLIN KURRE: Sorry.  My name is Collin Kurre from Article 19.  I think that our colleague makes an interesting point, and this is one of the challenges of getting increased involvement in Internet Governance of not only different stakeholders, but different regional perspectives, and there is -- you know, we all like to develop systems that can be universally applied and that are interoperable, like the devices on the Internet.  But I agree that coming with a checklist is not necessarily the best approach, and you do have to be responsive and adaptive and be able to cater different programs or different methods of involvement to the different particular stakeholder groups, such as journalists, or different regional perspectives that are not currently involved because, as we all agree, I think, Internet Governance is only as resilient as it is representative.  So that's why, like, Rachel mentioned, the fellowship programs and different initiatives that we are trying to create to be able to take -- to marry and bridge this kind of regional expertise and these kinds of different world views with the knowledge that is really necessary to become a valid participant in these kinds of Internet Governance bodies. 

Like IGF is one steppingstone, but then if you want to go on to participate in ICANN or in the ITU or in IEEE or in IETF, there's a much higher threshold for knowledge.  So you kind of do have to come with this checklist to a certain extent and say, okay, let me equip you with the capacity that you need to be able to come and share your perspective and share your voice in these fora so that it is heard in the end. 

So I think that maybe there's two different elements, and you make a good point, but it's a little bit more nuanced; isn't it? 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: This gentleman in the glasses.  Yes, you. 

>> Hi.  My name is (?) with the Copyfighters.  We are a campaign of young people in the European Union fighting for modern copyright reform.  I would actually come away from the topic of the end of civilization back to the precarious situation of journalists.  Unfortunately, at least in the EU, the dichotomy between journalists and press publishers isn't actually understood by policymakers.  They always think that if they support press publishers, then that will eventually trickle down to journalists.  And so the European solution to this problem is creating new copyrights or ancillary rights for press publishers.  And it would be interesting if you have any opinion in that direction or whether there is a way to engage better with journalists on the ground, actually, that might have completely different, for example. 

>> We have here a colleague from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers as well.  It's a very difficult question.  And it's difficult to simplify the same as it's difficult to simplify about your public service that people don't trust as an institution but then they trust some of the journalists there.  So it's very difficult to simplify that, you know, all publishers are bad and all journalists are good. 

And we believe that working with all sides is very important, and working with organizations like yours, but also having an open floor, which is what we do, before we come to the meetings like this.  Some of us fall into the trap of being institutionalized and just going with the checklist.  But increasingly, we are really making sure that we do call journalists and we talk with, for instance, investigative journalism networks around the world and take their issues.  We had a couple of preparatory meetings with all the stakeholders from around the world that could not make it here, but we made sure that we really bring their concerns, their attitudes, and all the things that we consider important to this meeting.  Hopefully next year we will be able to bring more of them. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: And one of the things before I am going to let Elena respond to this question about copyright, which I think is really interesting, but one of the things I think is really important about this -- and I am following it only slightly from my perspective -- but I think it illustrates the need for multistakeholder governance because a lot of times when you implement new types of policies, they respond to the demands of one sector -- and I am not talking about copyright right now -- but sometimes that one sector doesn't realize the implications it might have in other areas.  And one of the goals of Internet Governance is to try and address things from different perspectives so that you have a long-term solution that doesn't run into some of those problems.  And I think that is one of the reasons that we think that, you know, news media professionals need to be more involved in Internet Governance is because some of these decisions that are made, even technical bodies that Collin was mentioning, have really big impacts on news media, how we do reporting, how we do our distribution.  So I would say that I would -- the same holds for copyright.  That's a really big issue, and it probably needs a lot of different perspectives to talk on it. 

But did you want to mention something about this? 

>> ELENA PEROTTI: Hi, hello, everybody.  I am Elena Perotti from the World Association of Newspapers.  it's great to see a couple of old and good friends speaking from there. 

Yes, I completely agree with Daniel and Mira about the fact that Internet Governance is not covered by simply speaking about censorship and simply speaking on censorship and comments and responsibility on intermediaries. 

I have personally had to explain to at least half a dozen people among my own peers, my own friends this week about the implications of the FCC decision on net neutrality and the disaster that it can represent.  And everybody was just really shocked about it because they don't know it.  And one of the reasons why they don't know it is because we don't cover it.  And one of the reasons why we don't cover it is because we don't have the money to do so.  We just don't. 

So I really think that ensuring -- finding ways to ensure the sustainability of the news media is probably one of the fastest and surer ways of making sure that the public understands how important for sheer democracy Internet Governance is and to make sure, therefore, that more journalists can be sent to these events. 

>> Halid from the Center for Human Rights.  I have a few comments.  Like where are the journalists?  We are talking about the freedom of expression online.  And in many regions, many journalists are paying the cost of their freedom of expression online.  They are in prison due to a post of Facebook.  And this will bring the issue of how we are going to enhance the protection of people to put a proper content on the Internet. 

Then there's a problem, a chronic problem in our region, and probably in some other regions, which is the lack of network neutrality.  The network almost is 90% or more owned by governments across the region.  Like sometimes the person or the institution that provides you with Internet, either the government or part of the intelligence.  So really this will give you an idea about the lack of interest, not because of people they don't want to know something about the IGF, but the governments, they own the traditional media, they own the Internet, and this is really a problem that we need to address and the ways in which we make the Internet free and accessible for citizens and also for actors without them paying a heavy cost for they life, staying in prison. 

I have a question for Rachel about this scheme.  I think it will be very important.  We are working closely with UNESCO, and we never heard about such a scheme of fellowship.  It is very important also to communicate with grass-roots organizations who are working in the field, and this scheme is very important to us.  We want people to get involved with IGF on other initiatives.  So I hope that Article 19 is our partner.  we fully support your cooperation with them.  But it is also important to think about those people who are working in the field. 

Thank you. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: This actually -- your comment kind of reminds me of something that  was mentioning before about the importance of a decentralized Internet and kind of what you are talking about is really, at least in many countries you have a great deal of centralization and control of the government, whether it's government owned or very closely aligned.  But you know, I mean, Chu has also had a situation where the freedom of expression online has gotten her into trouble with a government that was kind of censoring free speech.  But I just kind of wanted to maybe hear what your thoughts are specifically on the issue of decentralization, open Internet, and why that's so important, and if you have seen any kind of threats to that model in Thailand. 

(Technical difficulties) 

>> CHIRANUCH PREMCHAIPORN: But so the Internet, there's no ability of the government to stop.  The way that they stop, they just arrest and charge you after you do it.  But they cannot, like, stop you for when you want to put the content online or you want to connect someone online. 

I think this is kind of like the -- it's a high stakes that we have to take, but we have opportunity.  So it's kind of like we buy lottery.  We don't know when we are going to win the lottery for the jail term or something.  But we still have ability to do.  They cannot control through the infrastructure that one thing. 

And I think it's important to be open for the Internet and also the transparency that is more important right now because the government, like in many countries, also in Thailand, they would like to do the surveillance to some kind of like surveillance to citizens and also to the media.  So I think it's also important that we can know about the transparency that how the Internet works, how the Internet Governance is doing.  In Thailand, the government just tried to pass a new law, it's called cybersecurity, which is addressing the issue of the cybersecurity as the economic sector as a national security sector.  But it's also including the legality to do the informal Internet lawful inception for the citizens.  So I think this makes the press and the Internet scary.  We have a digital footprint all along, so it's kind of like we have a right to say, we have a right to speak, but we also have a right to go to jail for our speech as well.  So I think that's also important that the rules and regulations that talk at the IGF is very important, especially when we talk about the intergovernance jurisdiction, something that not only one country regulation.  Because I still -- people in Thailand who still are able to operate independently because of we still have ability to control the free flow of information through the Internet. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Yeah, and that's interesting.  You mentioned the -- transparency is the word that I caught on there.  And the Internet is really interesting on this front because in some ways, we have access to so much information; right?  So in some ways it has created a lot more transparency.  However, kind of paradoxically, from a news media perspective, the platformization of news and the dominance of large social networks creates opacity for news organizations in terms of their distribution mechanisms.  And this is something that we've talked about a little bit.  And you know, what does transparency mean from a news media perspective, and what are we lacking?  Do you have thoughts on that? 

>> Well, it's very, very difficult.  I mean, I have an example of what just happened a month ago with the Facebook algorithm and the experiment they did in six countries.  And these six countries were the countries where freedom of expression and political scenery is very fragile. 

So for instance, me be Serbian, of course, the easiest example is Serbia.  So what Facebook did is they changed the news feed and took all the official pages and groups to a separate feed called Explore Feed.  They didn't consult with anyone, they didn't inform anyone, they didn't do this transparently in any way.  So what happened was that all the, for instance, independent news organizations that have used Facebook for years invested hours of work, invested a lot of money to promote their posts, developed audiences and relationships with their audiences, and Facebook was their main referral channel to their Web sites.  They just disappeared from news feeds of their audiences.  And of course, people who are loyal are going to search for them.  People who are really into reading their content are going to go directly to the Web site.  But really, most importantly, they use Facebook to reach those people who have very -- very monolithic sources of information all controlled by the government.  So that Facebook was their window to those people as well.  That disappeared completely.  And it disappeared in many countries where elections are coming.  They said it was an experiment.  As a marketplace, those countries are not important revenue sources for them, and that's what happens. 

On a global level, just to mention what's happening right now, according to Chartbeat and Parse.ly, who are working with different publishers to measure audiences and also referral sources, there were small incremental changes in the algorithm of Facebook News Feed that no one knows about because they are not transparent.  They don't have a public service remit and they don't have accountability request.  So they were changing it slowly and slowly.  So on a global level for the publishers that are measured by these agencies, now we have a 25% average decrease of referrals from Facebook to these publishers' content.  And that's something that's a trend, and now it's visible, and something that needs to be discussed. 

So even big publishers don't have impact on this, let alone individual journalists and investigative reporters.  So it's a huge transparency is a huge issue. 

>> CHIRANUCH PREMCHAIPORN:  Can I add a little bit on that?  I think it's interesting.  Like when we start our Web site, first we try to make our search appear, how to make our Web site be linking in the Google search, that's the way that we try to do.  And later on we tried to make the people stick with us by have a Facebook page.  And so the interesting, after the Facebook experiment, like first when the people go to our Web site, they go through the search engine, like go from some person directly to the Web site, some persons go directly to the search engine from Google, which used to be the majority, and later own when the Facebook popular, the numbers of the people come from Facebook refers increased.  But after the Facebook experiment, it's interesting that my colleague just informed me that the refers from Google, that Google search engine is increased, and Facebook is dropped.  Because people start -- and also my organization, my colleagues start to worry, do we need to create a kind of like Facebook group rather than the page?  Because more engagement or something.  I think we should not rely on that too much.  We just like okay, we go with it, but not rely on them too much because we don't know when they are going to change that too.  We cannot just follow them all the time.  That's crazy. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Okay.  I saw a couple more questions.  Over here? 

>> In the back, a gentleman with the glasses.  Yeah. 

>> I wanted to come back to some earlier topics that were discussed. 

In the beginning in your introductions you talked about the position of power of journalists in organizations, and they are usually in a low situation of power.  Some other guy also mentioned the issue of copyright.  In that way, I also see the same problem.  I am personally from the art world, and I see that they always are talking about the small creator.  In that same way, I also see them talking about news publishers in the copyright discussion.  Sorry.  They are talking about the self-publisher or publisher, there has to be money to be earned.  And I also see that it's mostly news agencies representing the subject and not, just as in the art world, it's always the music publishers talking about copyright. 

Currently in the copyright law, there's also an Article 11, which is talking about the link -- it's called the Link Tax, which means that linking to articles is also going to be subject to copyright.  And as a citizen, I am quite worried about this because it also restricts the flow of information on the Internet and makes the linking to articles -- yes -- and the freedom of expression by doing so subject to restrictions and licensing fees.  And I am wondering what the voice of the journalist is in this topic because you rarely hear this voice, you just hear the voice of the news agencies, the publishers, and how they are talking about that they have to earn money and rarely talking about the subject of freedom of expression and the flow of information on the Internet and information gathering.  I am wondering what journalists and other people in the panel and the room think about this. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Let's go ahead, since our time is ending, let's take two more questions, then we'll throw --

>> Can I follow up? 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Yeah, sure. 

>> Just to add to that, I was go to go ask almost the opposite side of the question, but it's relevant to what you are saying.  I don't think we've paid enough attention to the whole issue that Mira raised and that our colleague from the World Association of Newspapers raised is that we've created a system on the Internet that does favor and incentivizes the production of fake news and disinformation, which is very cheap to produce and can be produced by anyone and has contributed to the disintegration of journalistic enterprises of people working together.  So I am all for individual journalists, and I hope individual journalists' rights will be protected.  But what's really happened in the past ten years has been the real disintegration of people working together in journalistic institutions, which are to do high-quality reporting and to do high-quality news and information and to create the value that you were talking about, Mira, requires revenue.  Revenue is really a serious issue for anybody who works in journalism.  They have to keep the lights on.  They have to buy food.  They have to be able to produce high-quality journalism, which costs money.  So the -- you know, we need to talk a lot more about the system that has been created which has allowed the intermediaries to capture 90% of the new advertising revenue that has -- that is coming from the Internet.  This is what's going on in the world today.  It is a big transfer of wealth from the journalistic enterprises into the hands of those intermediaries.

 

You know, circulation and distribution and reach, you know, that only means anything when you can actually have the funding to create that reach.  So this is the core issue that we need to be talking about. 

>> In the back. 

>> Hi.  This is Irene.  I am from Bangladesh. 

I summarize one point.  I am just going back on the discussion.  I found one point that is basically the concern of this whole discussion also, that is the less participation of journalists.  Yes, I want to share my experience also over here.  I got the visa to come all along from my country to Geneva, but my colleague didn't get.  And we have to face the question repeatedly what exactly your role would be in that UN IGF.  So it seems -- it sounds a little contradictory to me.  One side we are looking for the journalist in IGF, but the other side, I mean, somehow the facility is not available to that the journalists can, you know, get all those process or something.  So that is one contradiction I found. 

Secondly I checked the schedules.  If I'm correct, then I didn't see not much agendas that reflects on journalism, even citizen journalism.  So again, it's a contradiction to me.  We are looking for the journalist, but yes, we are not having, you know, the facilities that journalists should feel the interest to participate, that yes, this is also my station, that I should be available, not just to come over here to, you know, cover some story on something like that.  So that is, you know, my opinion on the whole discussion. 

And there is one point also.  Basically, I manage a platform which is on (lost audio)

 

>> Basically how is the processing to empowering the citizen journalism in global perspective?  Thank you very much. 

>> Did you have a question? 

>> Hi.  My name is Isabelle.  I am from Copyfighters, and I reacted to the comment about revenues because thinking about revenues for who?  Are we talking about the big publishers?  Because of course, giving out licenses will give them revenue.  But if we are talking about local, small news publishers and far-away news publishers from, for example, Bangladesh, how will Facebook and Google do economical prioritization to buying licenses from small publishers and making those accessible for us?  Of course, there will be economical prioritizations that is favorable for big publishers because that's what will generate money for these companies. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great, well, I can definitely tell that the issue of the copyrights in Europe is really hot right now, and it was a very interesting discussion.  And I think that kind of responding to both of your questions, you know, one of the things that we see is that there is global inequity in terms of which publishers, which news organizations have clout with these large organizations, like Facebook and Google.  And so I think one of the things that we need to do is make sure that smaller or independent organizations in developing countries aren't left out of this discussion.  That's one of the reasons why it's really important for these issues to be discussed here at a global level. 

And in response to the Bangladesh question, yeah, I totally feel your frustration.  Actually, last year we wanted to bring two Bangladeshi fellows that we wanted to bring to last year's IGF, and neither of them were able to attend because of visa issues.  And so it's a really vexing problem when you are trying to get more people involved but then there are these limitations to doing that. 

I do think that the IGF does a good job of enabling remote participation, but it's not the same, and so as to your concern about looking at the agenda, not feeling that you are seeing stuff that's speaking to you., I mean, I feel the same way, and I think that's actually one of the reasons that we kind of wanted to have this panel was we wanted to kind of get these kind of people together and think about how we can promote that agenda more broadly.  So I think your observation is very much what I am seeing as well. 

Do people have other responses to some of the comments and questions? 

>> Yes, yes, yes, yes, we do, we do, we do. 

>> We will take the panelists first. 

>> Chu:  I think in terms of the issue of citizen journalists, and especially in the online world, I think it's important to protect the citizen journalist, not only how the citizen journalist can operate, but right now if you look into the statistics, I think the journalists who are prosecuted more are citizen journalists facing the danger or the threat.  It's the citizen journalists. 

I am also thinking about what kind of mechanisms that need to -- I think there's still some kind of a debate, when they say oh, we need to qualify, identify who are the journalists that are being protected and try to recruit some citizen journalists, and also the other groups, they also try to cover, doesn't matter who they are, if they try to do something, give information to the public, they should be protected as well. 

I am with you on the protection of the citizen journalists, and we still need more to speak up to find a solution or some mechanism to protect the citizen journalists. 

On the copyright, I don't know, I am with you as well because the media in Thailand in general, the copyright media, they are concerned.  They are worried about someone sharing or bringing their story to you that they are going to lose that profit that they try to protect that.  But for me, I probably consider for the information or the content is for public good.  But I understand the journalists or the media organizations that they worry about their revenue, they worry about the copyright that they protect, but probably in -- I think we need to look for some alternative, like Creative Commons, something that probably can share some sorts of value and still help the journalists can survive. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Okay.  We are going to take one last round of questions, so please try to keep your questions brief. 

Oh, sorry. 

>> I would like to respond.  What do you prefer? 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Go ahead and respond. 

>> RACHEL POLLACK ICHOU: I will try to make it quick.  I think all the points were very valid, especially Mark from CIMA, this point about 90% of advertising revenue from digital advertising is going to the big -- I have wondered -- because in the early days the development of the Internet it was an advertising model that was adopted and people got used to having content for free, and are they now willing to pay?  It's interesting to look at new solutions for business models that some have gone now back behind a pay wall, some are -- asking for do nations, like The Guardian or Wikipedia is not exactly news media, but similar idea.  Crowd funding.  I have heard of an example, I think, in the Netherlands where you can pay it's a few cents per article, something similar to iTunes, and that may be the question about how do you balance the needs of the individual or citizen journalists and facilitate business transactions with a platform like Facebook.  That might be one possibility. 

And I think going more generally about the question of citizen journalists, and I think we are sounds like very much all on the same page on this, that they need, I think first and foremost, to benefit from the protections and the status that is awarded to journalists or those practicing journalism, and that requires their safety, their physical safety, their digital safety.  I mentioned that there have been a number of UN resolutions on the topic of safety of journalists, and these have usually included some variation of citizen journalists, social media producers, the principle that we have had now for several years, that the same rights that people have offline they also have online, and it's difficult, I think, for an individual citizen journalist who is both because they may not be recognized by their governments as practicing, as having the rights of a journalist, so maybe face legal challenges, but also institutionally, without the benefit of a legal team or security protocols, security materials, but there is work in this area.  There's an alliance called ACOS, A Culture of Safety Alliance, and I think it has about 90 organizations, including many of the big wire services, Reuters, AP, FP, as well as -- but they recognize the specific threats faced by FreeLance journalists, and I think citizen journalists in many cases are in a similar situation.  So there's both the safety side, and I think also then the elements of skills and practice, and I think that's a role where media organizations can make the resources freely available.

I know our friend will say I am just spouting a checklist or UNESCO propaganda, but we believe in open solutions, so open access, open educational resources, of course, while recognizing the needs of artists and of the valid concerns for intellectual property and need for business models.  So again, I would be happy to speak more afterwards on these topics. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Thank you. 

Yes, quickly in the back. 

>> Quickly.  I have to say what I have to say.  Concerning for profit or not for profit, you are all too young to know that they used to be very vibrant not-for-profit or for-social-profit press in many countries in Europe, large communities or union press.  Today the combined circulation of advocacy group press is much larger than the mainstream press, and still the first ones have disappeared, and the second ones will not or are not being accepted as genuine newspapers by the public.  We should discuss one day why. 

Second, one of you asked the question of transparency, and another one at the onset of content.  It is a very complex issue online, but it was much clearer in the time of the print media.  Transparency meant there was a directory of book prints.  There were libraries with a rather easy-to-use catalog.  Each newspaper was forced to have a clear list of who was in charge, et cetera.  All this meant -- although very incomplete, and I do not want this -- there was a meaning, clear meaning, and rules for transparency in the print media. 

Today in the world of information too plenty and not too poor, it is much more difficult, and it is all an issue whether really Internet Governance is addressed at IGF or at search engine conferences.  This should be another discussion we never have.  Wikipedia does not really have a table of contents.  Could it, shouldn't it today?  The index is preceding the table of contents, that would be a third discussion. 

And then last thing, few people know that the fabled Pulitzer was not an investigative journalist.  He was one of the greatest bastions of fake news.  This is online on official -- that is official -- official foundation Pulitzer Prize site, they say that he created his prize to save his life -- his soul. 

Last thing, I am currently suffering something a bit similar to the Thai speaker from the most democratic government in the world, the Swiss.  It is not as bloody or violent, but it is a little bit of the same nature.  I do not want to give you the details.  If anyone in the room, if any of the organizations here dedicated, devoted to press freedom is interested, please give me your name card, your business card.  I will send you the detailed file. 

Thank you. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Thank you.  And Mira, you had a response to that? 

>> MIRA MILOSEVIC: Well, there are so many issues, and we can talk over the next couple of days about them.  We will be around. 

>> I will be very happy to spend a few days (Off microphone). 

>> MIRA MILOSEVIC: Undoubtedly. 

>> On transparency, thank you for being transparent. 

So it's very important, and I agree with what you said, there is a lot happening in Europe nowadays that we don't know about.  I had a chance to talk with one of the leading people in one of the biggest mobile operators in the world, and he pointed that out, that we need to do more in relation to pressures on governments, both big telco operators, big Internet cost.  It's getting worse and worse.  And there are so many incidents that go unreported.  So that's on that issue, and we can go on for hours. 

In this respect, there is a digital rights monitor.  They are investigating the biggest companies and incidents in this respect, ranking digital rights, yes, I am sorry.  So the -- to conclude, to go back to what Mark was saying and to go back to the question of money, whose money?  And why is it important?  Good investigative story -- even local reporting is really expensive.  And if you are investigating organized crime and corruption, it's very difficult.  You need to protect people.  Safety costs a lot.  Digital safety costs a lot.  Sending people to do stories, protecting sources, it all costs.  And we had a system that had funded good journalism for the last 80 years because it was subsidized by advertising.  And on a global level, only in the newspaper industry, that advertising was bringing around $80 billion per year globally to content producers.  And of course, you know, a lot of times it ended up in publishers' hands, but a lot of it trickled down to news rooms and content and news production.  And we are rapidly losing that in many of the countries. 

And a lot of new money that is going into advertising, as Mark has pointed out, is completely without any transparency, accountability, ending up in a couple of hands.  And so what we can do about it is work together to push for systems that are actually in digital world very equal, both for big and small players.  So for instance, you mentioned local newspapers that had to respect some rules.  They also had to have some kind of ABC audit on their circulation 20 years ago to be able to sell anything to advertisers.  Today we take Facebook's and Google's word for granted.  There is nobody that monitors and assesses that, for instance, what your page views according to Google Analytics are is actually true.  You know, I believe most of it is, but how do you know?  And what Facebook tells advertisers, if you are a small company anywhere in the world and you want to pay Google Ads or pay Facebook Ads, no one in the world has a body that controls what they say is your number of people and this profile, that profile is actually true.  So there is a lot of space, for instance, in Indonesia, small and big publishers and citizen journalism blogs, are getting together to create an group to make sure the measurement is transparent and also that the prices that are paid for digital advertising space are equal and also just for those publishers as well as for some others. 

So there are spaces to do things, but it's very difficult, it's very complicated, and we need to do it together. 

>> DANIEL O'MALEY: Great.  Thank you.  And I think on that note, we are running out of time, and this has been a really interesting discussion that's raised a lot of issues from the audience that I think we hadn't been thinking about but that give us kind of something to chew over.  And I just really want to thank our panelists because I think we have a lot of expertise and a lot of really good perspectives here.  I've been writing down a lot of notes and learned a lot from this. 

So thank you very much. 

(Applause)

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