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IGF 2017 - Day 4 - Room XII - BPF Best Practices Forum on Local Content

 

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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>> MODERATOR:  Kindly take your seats.  We're going to start.

Hello, my friends.  We're going to start.  Thank you so much. 

Good morning, everyone.

First of all, I would like to apologize for the change of room at the last minute.  It is really disappointing, and it is really confusing for our attendees.  I do ‑‑ I do apologize for you that this happened.

As you know, our session is a workshop about developer content.  We have been contacted by the IGF secretariat and asked to merge our session with the Forum on Local Content.  This is important because we have the same target people, and if we do two separate sessions at exactly the same time, we'll have our attendees split in two parts.  We agreed on that.

First, we'll start with the Forum, we'll present the Forum and give some ideas and put them on the table.

I give the floor to you.

>> RAQUEL GATTO:  Thank you very much.  I'm Raquel and I work with Internet Society and a member of the MAG, we're Co‑Facilitators for Best Practices Forum on Local Content.  We also have the contributions and the final outcome document people working with us.

I would start with saying thank you very much agreeing on the merge.  The IGF has this problem of having multiple sessions.  I think we're setting an example by merging and creating this discussion together.  It is very relevant.

A little bit about the Best Practice forums.  This is part of the intersessional work.

The intersessional work has started three years ago after the Working Group on the improvements for the IGF recommended more tangible results and concrete results coming out of the IGF.  We have started with the Best Practice Forum, collecting ‑‑ first identifying Policy Options and collecting real cases on the ground that are putting forward the policies.

In 2014 we had the first Best Practice forums on local content and it has identified a set of Policy Options that would bring this enabling environment for fostering local content.  They did end up recommending that we should deep dive on concrete examples on case studies and look into regional collaboration also.  That's where we have started with the idea within the MAG and it was finally approved that we should have this Best Practice Forum focused on case studies and Examples coming from the community.  What is interesting and we'll talk more about the focus this year and then we'll explain on the contributions and the document itself, it is still up to comments until the end of the year that was just there, but it is interesting as I wrap up, that it is not ‑‑ we talk a lot about connectivity.  It is not only availability and affordability that will bring people online, that will connect in the next billion, we need to have relevance.  Relevance comes with local content.  Then let's see what people are doing and what we could gather from the BPF.  Naturally we want to talk about the MAG decision and focus.

>> Good morning to everyone.

This was my second year at the MAG, and I saw in my first year, 2015, I saw there was a huge amount of sessions on local content.  In 2016, that was.  In 2017 I thought it was a good idea to start working on local content and building over the work that had been done before.  I checked and in 2014 local content, BPF already, and I thought we could build up on that.  The thing is, what comes to my mind is that it is not just connecting.  For example, you could bring electricity to a town and there is no factories built there essentially.  You should start building the necessities over that and start working with people to get more proactive and to become entrepreneurs.  The same thing with the Internet, you connect and then that's what the Internet gives you, gives the people, in that way, we started to think of three different approaches.  The first one was local content as a driver for development of the local Internet.  This was for more infrastructure related.  For example, experiencing the local content, the local hosting, the local traffic and it was work related to infrastructure.  The second one, it was local content to improve access.  Is the content relevant for that community?  The third one, local content as an opportunity for economic development that would be the third step, first you connect, then you create relevant access for Internet for consumers and you create the producers of the content or economic development.  In that way we have the digital literacy, the skills, innovation and the local content in the Digital Economy.

I'll give the mic to you who will get deeper into that.

>> WIM DEGEZELE:  Thank you.  Good morning, all.

Like what was said, we'll go deeper into the work we have done so far this year and the process of the BPFs, and I think it will become clear why we thought it would be very relevant to have this workshop together with you so that you can also contribute and this workshop can contribute to the work of the BPF instead of competing for each other's audience.  The BPF started to collect real examples, that's what the intersession wants to do, collecting practices from everywhere in the world from different areas and bring them together in documents, in an output document that's presented and discussed at the BPF and afterwards.  I think it is very important because it is an opportunity for the organizers, from their local projects, to come and give input.  I think that's completely another way of working rather than having one researcher for one organization looking into the topic of local content and then trying to reach out to people to print the content.

The work of the BPF, you can look at the IGF website.  I think we should post the link afterwards.

If you go, the intersessional work, there you can find Best Practice forums and a had true Best Practice forum for this year is the one on local content.  We have worked together putting together a document that's more explanatory, burp I don't think we have to dive into that, I'm sure we'll come back in the other presentations later today.  The second part of the work, it was collecting Examples.  We had and still have a survey online in which we want to know from people from all people, what they're doing and the work they're taking either to help people ‑‑ either to create content that's relevant for their communities, or projects that they put together to enable, to support people, entrepreneurs to go online with their own content there.  The link is still on the website.  It is an invitation to all of you to go there, fill in your information, fill in some material for the project and share this debate.

What we're looking for, we'll put some things on the table here and we'll come back during the workshop and the discussion, but it is factors, ideas, recommendations that could help projects or people with the projects to be successful.  We collected some ‑‑ rather than doing online research, we collected them from the people that organized the projects and put them together, shared them with everyone after the IGF.  Some of the factors that we until now found in the projects that were submitted, was it so important to involve all possible stakeholders, talk to them beforehand, make things clear and to have the local government behind you or at least as a partner in your project.  Some of those people, organizations that submitted a proposal also refer to the importance of having a good private partner, a private partner, some say we have it greater here, but we really needed a private partner that could help us either financially or could help us on a technical level to set up a project.  Especially if you look to smaller projects, it can be really challenging to find funds because some projects don't have a lot of funding, but if one partner could say, okay, we can help you, we can provide you with some technical help, technical assistance, that would be a way forward.  On the other hand, we also ask for barriers, hinderances and those people that say, look, it was very limiting us in trying to get successful.  Some in some countries, some areas, they mentioned the cost of the ‑‑ it is still very high, the connection, we can put up this project to try to attract people to come online, but we still didn't realize that for a lot of people, the cost of just getting online, it is all very high.

In other areas, there is still the language issue where often there is a lot of content available, easy to get content available either in official languages of the country or in international languages.  English, where the organizers on the local projects say this is not really working for us because the local people we're trying to reach don't speak either official languages or sufficiently or the regional languages.

Another ‑‑ and I think an interesting point that came up ‑‑ it is the problem with SMEs and small entrepreneurs.  I remember in one of the case studies, there were very, very to reach and to get interested in the project to create local content just because they are entrepreneurs and there is no one, two person, people and usually they only think about working and it is very difficult to reach them.  They're not coming to conferences, they're not coming to a meeting like an IGF or a local IGF because they know their work and the time that they spend at a meeting discussing things without immediately return on investment, it is lost money for them.  This is a number of points before I give the floor back to Raquel, these are points that I hope are picked up in the rest of the workshop to further discuss, to be challenged.  And I hope that from the other presentations, learning today we'll get additional input and ideas on what is helping, what is difficult.

Let me thank you again for having the opportunity to do this together and ask you all to look at the document and submit your case studies also.

>> RAQUEL GATTO:  Thank you very much.  I also want to just add that a final outcome document, it is going to be released in January.  So that's to keep the timeline.  We have some people at the floor, can you just tell us in 2, 3 minutes, tell us about the lessons learned, the enablers and barriers that you're facing in your project. 

You need to say your name to speak before transcript purposes.  Each time someone is speaking, please start with your name.

>> DUSTIN PHILLIPS:  Thank you, Raquel. 

Just a little bit about our project, ICANNWiki tries to provide an accessible resource on Internet Governance and the ICANN community.  We have found it very important and within our mission to extend this content to other languages.  Our approach to this is to work with stakeholders based on demand for the language.  If we were to speak at the conference with a group that's interested in translating that content, then we identify a handful of leaders that can drive the project and our role is primarily to provide a platform on which they can build the content.  We usually work with these to identify a core of Articles that will be important to summarize the ICANN world or Internet Governance world and then we basically let them steer the project.  This has its benefits and occasionally creates a few issues.  The benefits are that the content that's created is very relevant to the local community.  Occasionally, it is the vision for the project, it is not clearly indicated, then we get content that's just out of scope completely irrelevant or occasionally of a quality that doesn't meet our standards.  For example, in East Africa, we had a project where we host small workshops, we use that to build a base of content in Swahili and we're able to use that content to facilitate the next round of workshops.  As we build more content, teach more people how to use the platform, we're able to hold better workshops and provide a better resource.  In an if few of these workshops, we gave maybe ‑‑ not enough structure or guidance to the projects so we had only Articles written about Toyota corporation or Toyota.com and it is not relevant to the Internet Governance, it is finding the Right balance when taking an international project that's based in English and extending it to other languages, it is finding the Right approach to providing a somewhat structure and guidance without steering the project.  That's what we have found to be a successful model for localizing content.

>> RAQUEL GATTO:  Thank you very much.

If you can share your contributions and lessons that you learned from the project.  If you could say your name better than I do, of course.

>> YAN GELLEFR:  I hope I can say it better!  That would be a pity. 

I'm Yan Geller.  I work as a public policy manager.  I'm happy to be here. 

Local content, we usually say locally relevant content, it is a huge issue for us.  We look at it as a matter of access to knowledge as I guess many of you in here agree.  As a platform, a neutral platform, this is, of course, a huge challenge as we believe in free knowledge in which we do not want to have fear.  Local content creation, it is what is our community does.  They bring educational content in the public domain to Wikipedia in their own language.  Currently in more than 280 languages actually.

However, there is a huge range.  English Wikipedia, which has actually a lot of content on just any item throughout the world, on villages in Africa, maybe also on the Toyota corporation most likely, there is 5.5 million Articles.  Whereas in the language ‑‑ I used the earlier example ‑‑ I think there is only 530 Articles in other languages and you see this as a huge challenge because the fewer Articles that there are, the less people are motivated to go to Wikipedia and read or also to contribute to it.  That puts us as the steward of the platform in the position that while we're not interfering, we have to think about how we can at least incentivize people or support people in their efforts to bring content to Wikipedia and the chapters in different countries that are independent from us do this by organizing edit‑athons, they bring people in a room, people like us, they will maybe translate Articles from other languages, but also when it is actually about a locally relevant piece of information they will come together and identify what's missing that can be an edit‑athon to close the gender gap, providing more information about notable women in their context or about other topics.

It is, what we try to do, really support the people to contribute that content themselves.  It is a very challenging thing.

>> RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you very much. 

A last thing that we have, just a few minutes, and we need to go for the workshop, I would ask if there is any questions related to the BPF itself.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much. 

I have to confess, I'm a rookie of the BPF process from the description I have heard. 

I'm representing the International Federation of Film Producers Association.  I suppose we're here to insert ourselves in this process and this conversation which we find very exciting.  We have had a look at the document and seen that perhaps there is room for us to come in with our perspectives and certainly case studies of how local SMEs ‑‑ as you rightly pointed out ‑‑ how they're trying to bridge the gap as far as access to mainstream platforms especially as platforms are concerned for content.

A big issue we're dealing with in our federation in Developing Countries, it is how market failure tends to operate when it comes to professional entertainment film and content, which is the Right for people to receive as much as knowledge, for example.  Local content, it is the ability to foster the national conversation about all sorts of themes, whether it is cohesive, controversial, it participates in the Freedom of Speech and in general helps enrich peoples' lives. 

The problem on the ground, the producers, they're competing with foreign content that's been in other markets with legacy players, particularly broadcasters that are not willing to partner with them in the very high‑risk endeavor of developing new screen plays, new stories, packaging films, other forms of video entertainment for the local audience.  They expect the locally relevant content, that's exactly what we're looking at here. 

What we would like to set ourselves in this process very much is looking at the issue of having a proper entrepreneurs in the field to be present for these fora and we can certainly help with this and normally it is not me speaking but someone who is actually a producer of such content.  Just to say we're here and we would like very much to participate.  Thank you.

>> RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you for your contribution.  It is very welcome.   we have two here and then ‑‑ go ahead.

>> AUDIENCE:  I'm a MAG member.  Many congratulations on the initiative. 

I completely agree with the sentiments to say that there is not enough work, workshops, dedicated track to local language content.  We're looking at about a billion plus connected in India, yet only 28% in terms of Internet penetration and while key values is the availability of local language content.  Congratulations again.

I run a platform where you get young women and girls to write in local languages, and one of the key issues ‑‑ and that's my question to the organizers who have been running the platform ‑‑ are you looking at local initiatives in relationships that they're sharing between them?  What kind of values?  If you're looking at a Best Practice?  What we're doing, we're competing with large corporations and we have seen uprooting and the discovery and search of local language content, it is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to networks, and also a rights framework where access to that kind of content and when you're looking at platforms, frameworks of collaboration, and then there is also related questions of Human Rights and persecution when putting the local language content online.

Thank you.

>> RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you for the contributions. 

I apologize, we have to close to start the panel so I won't have time.  After the workshop, we're going to have another time for questions and we can follow‑up.

I want to on the process ‑‑ just so to be clear on the process of the inputs, so this year BPF was approved by the MAG in April, and we started a little late the discussions.  We had a call for inputs, a survey, where we collected the case studies.  Again, it is not a work you can end right now.  There is a lot of value on continuing this work.

This BPF needs to end by the end of the year, which we just have until next week to receive any comments on next projects and then we'll submit a final output document.

The MAG usually discusses on the first quarter an approves the BPFs for 2018.  I see by the comments in the room, that there is an interest in continuing this work and perhaps having a BPF next year.  I recommend that if we can chat later and see how we can put this forward.

>> Thank you very much for this presentation.  It was meant to be shorter.  Our workshop was 90 minutes and now it is less than 60 minutes.

I found that this initiative, it is very good.  Try not to set the situation for local content and this is a good initiative and we have to join the report I think, join the Forum.  Our workshop was about local content and opportunity for human, economic, social development and free flow of information in the underserved region, the Arab region as an example.  We know that the countries and communities, they're almost absent on the net.  They're only consumers.  They're producing on Facebook, but what on Facebook?  Nothing.  Our community, our regions, they're not present on the net.  The local content, it is the opportunity for our underserved region, for our Developing Countries to contribute to the content of the Internet.

We have a lot of opportunities for that.  We may have scientific control and production and also with the Internet of Things, we need a lot of interest into Internet of Things.  We have the applications on the shelf from the north, but they'll be ‑‑ it is done by north people for them, not for us.  It will not be relevant as we say for our community.

Also, in other languages, our effort is for local content with local languages.  This is the theme of the workshop.  I have six speakers here.  I will start with Mr. Aziz Hilali who will set the scene by presenting the figures that we have been asked to debate the local content issues based on an economic and social development and free flow of information, he's a professor from the University of Morocco and he's also a member of ICANN Committees and a fellow Chair of ISOC.

You have the floor.

>> AZIZ HILALI: Thank you very much.  In this presentation, I'll try to show some figures and some statistics that we'll use to debate this important issue relating to the economic and social development and free flow of information.  For this, we look at the 98 million people living in 22 countries that we'll see here in this map, according to the work on the total population of this region, the number of Internet users, it is still estimated at only half of the population.  Digital divides in the Middle East, northern Africa, they're narrowing, not only between the countries and the neighbors but also between generations and social crisis within countries.  In terms of the Internet rates, you see the four groups here, the first group included, the 6 higher income countries here with higher integration.

The second one, it is the small countries, they're squeezed and the Internet penetration is higher, because of their nature.

The third one, the third group, it is in North Africa, despite the GDP similar here, but a total of 100 million unconnected here.

The last group of Arab countries with 144 additional people and about 40 million Internet users.

Here regarding the use of social media and the use of content in local language are key indicators showing growth.  It is up 15% year on year and social media, it is 47 in the year.  On the most active and used from Qatar, it was to look at the 15 most popular websites and to understand if Arabic was used and if so, whether the Arabic was primary or secondary language.  Even in Arab countries like Egypt, the ranking of the top 50 sites we visited, they're not available in Arabic or not including Arabic as the main language.  According to this survey, it is not ‑‑ it is believed that the user content, especially the social media content. 

According to another study, this is one of the worst of the digital disruption and in the past decade, it was broader, the flow connecting the Middle East to the rest of the world, it has increasingly increased more than 154.  Today, we now ‑‑ it is the fastest growing in nine markets in the world, however, digital is changing from country to country and business and government in all areas that are struggling to keep up.  The region has reported now to be a leading Digital Economy if it can bring stakeholders together to focus on developing the region governance business founded and talent.  The future of digital in the Middle East will require the participation of all stakeholders and experiences.  Otherwise, when you look at statistics according to the world stat website, Arabic has now the largest proportional without any major group.  More than that, the Arabic world has raising in the fourth rank with 124 million Arabic‑speaking people using the Internet.  This means that the facts of the digital markets, it seems to be in place. 

On the other hand, there is some confusion to promote the Arabic content online most visible on the social network where Arabic is slowly overtaking English.  The social media platform, they're also increasingly seen as a measure of means in countries, nearly 50% of Arabs prefer social media as the main source of information.

Finally, I would like to share with you the confusion of studies conducted by stakeholders, including ICANN with the Digital Economy of the region connected to a collective forthwith government should focus their efforts in areas and provide further connectivity and viability of the relevant contents building digital capabilities, establish practice and support policies.

I will stop there.

>> Thank you very much.

Thank you for this presentation, Aziz.  Yes, we're running out of time.  That's why we should really try to comply with the slip of time.

Our next speaker will be Roula Mikhael, a journalist, Executive Director of the Lebanese NGO working on Freedom of Expression and media development.  She will speak about opportunities for sustainability of digital media platforms in the region.

Please.

>> ROULA MIKHAEL: Thank you.  Good morning.

I will talk specifically about the media content.  The challenges with the media platform fails and the opportunities that would advance the availability of such digital platforms which will contribute definitely in the developing Arabic digital content.

It is well‑known that media blossoms in times of political change and technology evolution.  We're living nowadays under both circumstances.

Since the political transition that happened in mainly Arab countries, the media platforms, they started to exist suddenly preferred from the invite. That allows more Freedom of Expression.  The Internet, the existing technological tools offer a real opportunity for activists and journalists to start creating more progressive content in Arabic.

Content that has a purpose to inform the public and to challenge existing political issues and they have a different point of view and a content that breaks the subjects, in tore region, other regions that there are a lot of taboos and here, it affects the content sometimes or most of the time.  Starting with if I'm not being able to criticize any public figures, to address sexuality for example, the Human Rights violations, and so on.

With the new progressive Arab content improves a few existing content.  It is hard to say that only a few independent media platforms found a way to keep creating good content, but not in a regular basis.  Here comes the question, how can we ‑‑ how can this emergent platforms ensure the availability and what is needed to keep them functioning and contributing to the local content in order to keep the new diversified scenery.

From an organization working on media development, we can say that there are many challenges facing the content declaration of the quality media content, starting from the access to information,   challenges in the investigative reporting phase, access to the Internet, the restrictive media rules sometimes and the dangerous work environment also, something to note, the working and balance of the new platforms, so on, and it is in some Arab countries, not all Arab countries.

In addition to all that we have also the lack of immediate yam management to skills among the media start‑ups and as well as the mark of culture of innovation.  In order to strengthen the capacities of these platforms, temporary staff population important to provide the leaders and managers with other it skills to find their business models and that's what we have started to do as an organization working in the region.  If so, capacity building is not enough.  Further aspects should be addressed.  Public policies that support and encourage the new media projects that will contribute in promoting diversity, good governance, accountability along with incentives that allows them finding valuable business model.

Regarding the information and digital literacy, first it is critical thinking among youth and audiences in general, in order to support the quality content and the role of media in citizens.

The last thing I want to highlight, it is rooting the culture of innovation and Entrepreneurship among the young generations to start launching their own projects to contribute in creating interactive digital content that responds to local needs.

Thank you.

>> Thank you very much.  You were on time, wonderful.

Our next speaker will be Glenn McKnight.  He's a member of ISOC Board of Trustees.  He's also former Chair of ICANN and current Secretariat.  He's active and especially active in Smart Villages.  Glenn will talk about the activities focusing on underserved communities in Canada and Developing Countries.  Please. 

Glenn, go ahead.

>> GLENN McKNIGHT: Thank you.  It is my pleasure to be on the Committee.

I do not have the slides, I'm not putting you to sleep.

I'm not going to talk very long.

What I will share with you, some of the ways that we approached our creating content, providing into communities which can then turn around and use the materials as open education resources, OER.  Let me share the first story that I would like to share with you.

It is IEEE has 460,000 engineers around the world.  Those individuals are very concerned about improving their I would say professional development, accreditation, how do you do this?  Especially since most of the content is in English.  A mandate that IEEE has decided to do is on Internet Governance.  They have the Internet inclusion program, you see that they have the location here and they're ‑‑ this is in terms of the ‑‑ I would say the technical background platform that we all share using the Internet.  What's interesting, I worked with IEEE and develop it had an online course.  The course is provided for free, open to anyone, it is an introduction to Internet Governance.  What's unique about the product, it is that over the last ‑‑ I don't know ‑‑ maybe I can refresh my memory, I have been interviewing Olivia and others at ICANN about the ecosystem, many videos are provided in the content plus audio podcasts and Slide shows.  The content, it is media rich.  The idea is to provide the content for free as an OER.  I have reached out to the wider community, and this community as well saying if anyone is interested, I'm doing it as a creative license and anywhere in the world you're welcome to the content for free.

I have had a number of people approach me saying we will translate it to Arabic, they disappear, yes, I'll do it in Portuguese, they disappear.  Again, it is a standing offer, you know.  If you want to contact me, I'm more than happy to work with you and I really encourage the material to be translated into local languages.  It is a fantastic resource that's a seminar resource on Internet Governance.  It is only one resource, it is not like anything else, it gets stale like bread, the longer it is there it needs to be upgraded and current content. 

The second thing, this is what I was introduced on, two different projects I'm involved on with IEEE, one is smart villages.  Smart villages was created as an effort between the U.N. foundation and IEEE foundation to look at the Sustainable Development challenges.  We looked at three in particular, reliable electricity, communication, patient records or individual records.  In the area that I focused on, it was reliable electricity and we looked at prototypes of one kilowatt systems as well as energy kiosk s and we have rolled out this program around the world and we first started doing it in Haiti and it was a model, an interesting model.  Even though it has a very American slant into it, on it, because it is not a gift, it is a partnership, so the idea of providing reliable electricity is critical for all of us although education is a sustainable develop goal, without reliable power, you don't have the reliable network, if you don't have the reliable network, you're not connected to the net.  It is the want in terms of the battle.  We focused on partnerships around the world on reliable electricity which is a tool for local content creation.

The third thing I have been involved in this terms of content, internationally, IEEE, that's a special interest group on humanitarian technology and three volunteers were at the booth from Tunisia and they have done a number of projects.  Again, that's a funding window as well.  If you have an IEEE section in your country, approach them, there is twice a year, windows an opportunity for applying for funding.  Again, it was all part of the IEEE humanitarian committee and I believe ‑‑ it is a very important thing in terms of content creation and development, and it is having adequate amount of funding and an audience to take access to it.

I believe that's all I have to say about the IEEE efforts ‑‑ sorry, I forgot one thing. 

We're hoping with our own foundation, working with rolling out a million victory gardens which is focused on content on agriculture.  My wife and I have been working on that for a number of years.  We have a demonstration site with a solar system at our farm location in Canada.  We're looking at replicating that model in different parts of the world.

Thank you.

>> Thank you very much.

Our next speaker, Layal Bahnam, an expert and program manager.  Layal will speak about improving legal frameworks and encouraging local content creators.

>> LAYAL BAHNAM: Thank you for having me on this panel.

What I would like to share with you, it is a point that we don't talk a lot about it whenever be talk about local content, the legal frameworks as you said.

If we look at the main creators of local digital content in the region, there are developer, researchers, journalists, bloggers, for them to develop local digital content that responds to the needs of the local communities, they need access to information in order to be able to use, reuse, distribute the content again.  Based on that, there is a main gap in the region when it comes to the legal frameworks allowing content creators to access information.

We have an overview on the availability of the access of information in different countries and we will see that either they do not exist or they exist, but they're naturally put in practice.  Even if they exist, they're more likely a formality more than tangible tools to guarantee access to information, because they're either ambiguous or inefficient when it comes to complaint mechanisms most of the time.

For example, in Jordan, there is some but it is not in line with international standards and governments and public administrators allowing free flow of information, it is still the exception, not the rule. 

Also there is a lack of awareness among journalists and citizens regarding the existence of the laws themselves.  The timelines of administrations and procedures to request information are too complicated.  There are few cases where journalists or citizens file complaints to the information council because the council's decisions in all had cases are not binding to administration who reviews fuses to provide information.  In Lebanon, a law on access to information was passed recently but it was linked to a body that should receive complaints and monitor the implementation of it, but unfortunately it was ‑‑ the budget has not been formed yet so administrations do not feel the obligation to start publishing information even if this exists in the law.  Journalists and citizens, they do not practice this as it requires a lot of formalities and time and editorial newsrooms, lack of resources, the culture even to invest in such procedures as well.

If you want to talk about opportunities, here comes the role of the Civil Society organizations to help raise awareness about this right and challenge administrations to apply it and monitor the use.  This is happening in many countries in the Arab region.

Also, the challenge is not only limited to access to information loads and existence because their existence will not lead automatically to develop local digital content because there is another issue, which is governance and public administrations who decide to publish their data, how are they publishing them?  Are they publishing them in open formats, free of charge, thus available for o others to use them in a way to produce local digital content that has value.  The answer is in all countries, no.  This is a main challenge that's not deeply tackled and that affects directly the creation of the digital content, cultural, environmental, financial, economical, social, open data will give the opportunity to content creators to analyze, use, reuse in normative ways.  Few initiatives exist like the Lebanese open data and we need more highlighting the local data and digital content in both.  More challenges, when we talk about legal frameworks related to privacy, especially when we saw that there are access to information laws, but when we talk about the necessity of having open data, so also there is a lack of interest in working further in our region on copyright laws, for example.

Other laws as well impact the development of the digital local content, such as the harsh provisions related to online speech and we'll talk about this at this point.

Also, talking about the policies and the role of the states, to improve the local digital telecom when you talk about public media that has also a role to play in developing local content, now only the platforms are online so they're contributing increasing the digital content, unfortunately, public media is not really investing in producing local content that responds to the need of local communities as most are only mouth pieces of the governments and do not have strategies for production or are not applying them.

The work is big to do.  So Civil Society, it has a lot to do and governments need to acknowledge the importance of introducing supportive policies and the Civil Society should play a big role at both advocacy and awareness levels.

>> Thank you very much.

Next speaker, the Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights and you will speak on growing attacks on online activities and impact on human economic and social development across the region.  Please.

>> KHALID IBRAHIM:  Thank you very much.

I'm the Executive Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights.  And I'm first of all feeling unhappy about the underrepresentation of the region in the IGF.  Maybe we have problems.  We're not adopting the multistakeholder approach in the initiatives, but still they're an international community and the village and communities, they have providing schemes, Fellowships to allow our youngest generation to attend and participate effectively in the IGF.

In five minutes, this is the outcome of the workshops, outcome of three workshops and we have 5 minutes to speak about the link between the stages of local content.  We have four stages to create local content which is suitable, that's addressing needs of communities and the creation and preservation and simulation and the utilization.  We have a problem.  The problem that we have with all of the stages, of having local content, it is affecting the work of online activists and effecting the work of Civil Society.

I have it to say, cybercrimes, it is used to imprison online activists, I have a lot of examples, but I don't have the time, but there's a lot of people and there is not enough time, not time to talk about the names, but what we need, the adoption of aggressive policies and initiatives to encourage more local content creators to have three spheres to enjoy Freedom of Expression online and offline.  Now, the lack of social justice, the digital divide, there is a law, in Syria there is a law, others, there is law for that, that's all effecting the access of the population and when we know for sure that the media is owned by governments, and then when we want to use social media to express our views, I talked to my colleague about some of this, but how can we not only look at the digital divide that we have, but still the governments, they're trying to regard Civil Societies as enemies.  When you regard certain societies, academia as enemies, there is no way to share values of stakeholder approach, values of respecting the fact that there is no creation of local content without respecting freedoms, including the Freedom of Expression.

In order to ensure the free flow of information, data, all of that, we have to stick to the standards of the principles, the standards that are adopted in the interest of the web, that is that we have to provide Internet that's a free, accessible to citizens, we have to respect the work of online activists who are trying their best to talk about the public affairs who are trying to defend people's rights.  This is not a time to put actors in prison just because they're saying stop to the war in Yemen, for these years, they're still in prison.  Last week it was said my father is innocent, and a prisoner, he's defending the Rights of the people, including his father, he's still in prison, although he said the sentence three years in prison and yet he's still in prison, the government United Arab Emirates saying he's a threat to the state.  He's a threat to the state.

What I'm saying to conclude the five minutes, we have to act together to create a knowledge‑based society to respect the Freedom of Expression and Human Rights, respect the diversity of culture.  We have to do that.  We have to work together, we have to accept the fact that the Civil Society organizations, they're not enemies, they're partners and reliable partners.  Thank you.

>> Thank you.  Thank you for this intervention, Khalid.

Last but not least, Marie Moemie Marques.  She's working in the Regulatory Department of Orange in charge of trade and Internet Governance, and she will speak about ‑‑ address access to Internet and the level of development of Internet infrastructure based on the experience of the Orange Group in that region.  She says that since one of the main factors impending the creation of local content in underserved region, it is the access to Internet.  She will make this intervention. 

Please.

>> MARIE NOEMIE MARQUES: Hello.  I'm the last to speak today. 

My suggestion is the development of local content and digital services, local content, it does not take into account connectivity, although it is not the center of the subject, well, local content, it is an opportunity for human economic and social development in underserved regions too and local content cannot thrive without the deployment and extension of the Internet broadband infrastructures.

Here we have two topics, the need for enabling environment for the digital transformation of the society, the deployment of local content, development on local contents and the second point, the practical solutions that can be addressed and that we address for deployment in rural and remote, underserved regions.  My first point, it is that we believe the digital transformation of society represents an essential for social development, economic growth and job creation.  In many regions and in other countries, ICT applications are expected to bring benefits to all aspects of life in terms of learning, healthcare, agriculture, digital governance services is, businesses, et cetera.

Of course, the digital transformation shall include governance, citizens and businesses.

In this respect, Internet broadband infrastructure is paramount to ensure connectivity to all to allow the development of services and achieve a transition to digital society and economy.

It is right that in the underserved regions mobile technology will continue to play a dominant role in Internet connectivity extension as fixed is easier in remote areas, a the least in medium terms.

Two important things have to be addressed here.  It is very important to continue this extension, expansion, to have an enabling regulatory policy in place, and business environment open to investment and innovation.  This is important.  For infrastructure and also for local services.

This is important for all, very important to the life of the peoples locally.  For all of the services that have been developed and serving in the interest of people in terms of healthcare, learning, agriculture, finance, all of this is very important for the people.

In terms of cost effective solutions that can be contemplated, that we use to continue the broadband deployment in remote areas, rural areas, for example we think we have to develop cooperation between governments, financial institutions and operators for the building of international, and we have to see the common or shared infrastructure, looking at the solutions in the areas to avoid unnecessary deployment of the infrastructures and also to apply to use solutions where applicable and if necessary and it is also very important to use adapted energy solutions to address shortages in terms of network rollouts and device usage. 

In the adapted energy solutions, it can be used for cell towers and energy solution would be adopted to the problem identified and we can look at it locally, it can be based on solar, wind, et cetera, or cooperation with supplier and then we're working on it and we're addressing the problem.  This is also very important to implement an efficient Internet architecture with bandwidth optimization.

Also it has to be taken into account that the policy is very important to have good solutions in these areas.

I'll stop here.  Thank you very much.

>> Thank you very much, Noemie.

As you have seen, the aim of the workshop was to raise awareness about the importance of local content.

Local content in my point of view would be a challenge for Developing Countries and underserved communities to have a presence on the net.  Right now they're not present.  We had different perspectives on this panel and I hope you will have questions for our panel and also for the members of the Forum.

I would like to tell those people of the Forum that I really want to integrate the team, I do think we need to also go to the implementation more or less, to build an enabling environment for local content.  The strength that we have, a lot of ideas, but how to implement them, I think this forum is a way to try to do that.  I open the floor for questions.  Questions are for our panel and for the Forum.

I have already a queue.  Okay.

>> I'm from Internet Society India.  I see the problem of local content as a problem, not of encouraging local content to be placed online in the local space ; and second, getting available local content to the global space, and third, the content locally created and the transfer to the global space and fourth, the unique problem of identifiers of local content.  ICANN came up with the international domain names, which is domain names and local content, local script and that's solved a certain problem of making local users use the domain name but the local names and the local script, it becomes uncommunicatable to people of other language communities.  The content locally created tends to be confined in the local space. 

The third program is making local identifiers understandable or translatable to the global Internet space, and thereby make local content available to the global Internet space.  The communities that are working on local content, looking at the aspects of local content issue. 

That's my question.  Thank you.

>> Thank you, Vhabin.  Please make your questions short.

Okay.

The second question.

>> AUDIENCE:  Mine is not a question.  It cannot be short as you request, but I hope that you don't mind.

From the broadcasting union, and I offered many times to contribute ‑‑

>> Can you please introduce yourself?

>> AUDIENCE:  Sorry?

>> The name?

>> AUDIENCE:  Jaco from the European Broadcasting Union.

We offered to collaborate with this Best Practice Forum, and it has not been possible for various reasons.  I send contribution and the paper.  Just because ‑‑ I feel as has been said by those representing the producers, the film producers, I represent the broadcasters, we have unions around the world covering all of the countries of the U.N. and we're present in all of the regions.  Just to give you an idea about the European dimension, where we have the public service broadcasting, in 2016, the public service broadcasters in Europe have invested billions in local content.  This is just to give you an idea, it is ten times more or less what's on video and four times of what's in Netflix, with the main difference that this is local content for locals in local languages and minority languages.  This is possible why?  It is possible because in Europe we look at the possibility to invest with the local obligation to invest in local content.  This is a beneficial affect that will create content diversity of contents in Europe.  This is an opportunity now in the region, I think that the focus is mainly on those regions, we're four countries that are going through law and there is opportunity, as has been mentioned by the colleague before, to transform the broadcasters of the past to do something different, that could be a dynamic for the information, for the names of the region, but also an opportunity for the local connection.  This, for us, it is the way to access it, you don't have any more to look for the content.  This has a beneficial effect on the old ecosystem.  If you produce local content, it is more content for the websites and you have major attractive contents, even entertainment contents, the platform doesn't work.

If you look at what people watch on YouTube, they watch for shots, for hiring professional, produced contents, that you have already.  So we're going through this convergence in the countries of the reality on part of the region and the world, the region and the world, it is a reality soon, why don't you work on this direction and we have offered that cooperation and we have a willingness to cooperate.

Last week, I finish there, we were at the UNESCO for the Convention on cultural diversity.  We presented there at the request of a report on the contribution to the local contents in Europe.  We're now planning to do the same on a worldwide basis.  For the future, it is a good element to keep in mind.  Thank you.

>> Thank you.  This is a good contribution from you as broadcaster, developing broadcasters.

I think it is a good Example that you gave.

Is it ‑‑ you said there are some countries in the region ‑‑

>> I ‑‑ in theory, the national broadcasters, even more but the broadcasters, at the moment, they don't have any kind of obligation.  This is a problem.  Also the lack of financial resources.  They have the situations and they don't have the money to pay the salaries.  I think if we're going to change this, the media world, it is a key enabler for everybody.  We're doing some specific action on that, for instance, as you know, we have members also in the region, within the European broadcasting union, we have launched a project with an investment of a million euro more or less to just bring the broadcasters to the online world because this is ‑‑ broadcasters, they're not present online.  BBC, they're the first content online, why not also others.

>> Thank you.  Thank you.  Please.

>> AUDIENCE:  Thank you.

Can I continue?  Thank you. 

I'm from Botswana.  It is a developing country.  I think my question is to all of the panelists, it is probably a difficult question, but a basic question, we see this issue of local content and we have tried to encourage them to come up with local content.  Our biggest problem, of course, is the competing international quality of good content.

From your experience, what would be the type of content in local communities, especially the developing context?  I think that would be ‑‑ I just want to look for a guide or some experience so you can look at that particular type of content.

Thank you.

>> Thank you very much.

Just to help you out, each country ‑‑

>> One moment.

>> I'm sorry.

>> Please.

>> I'm from the Walt Disney company.

It was great to hear about the Middle East, because that's a region that we're not there.  It is definitely really interesting.  I would like to hear a bit about how an enabling environment can be best supported in the Middle East for Disney specifically having strong copyright laws as well as systems, it is really important for our work in a region.  I would like to get a view of any countries working to support those aspects.  There are a lot of challenges in the Middle East and we would like to see what countries we should perhaps keep an eye out on.  Thank you.

>> Thank you very much.

I would like to bring us back to a point that we raised on the first day of the IGF, it was exactly this room and it was under the title data is the new oil.  At the time we said that there is a lot of data, in fact, many Facebook interactions, various YouTube channels, but much of the data, it is not used.  It is not monetized by companies that utilize it for generating profits and getting the consumer to pay with more data.  What strategies and policies do you recommend for the region to bring back ownership of the data to the region instead of having it exported and how can that play what role in advancing the cause of not only generating data, but generating relevant and useful data for the region.

>> Thank you very much.

>> I think when we talk about content, there are all kinds of content.  What my colleague from Botswana was saying, local music, local content, people are happy, willing to access, we see that there is a lot of production now of small, 2‑minute videos, usually jokes, life mixed with animation, that people are exchanging.  You don't have to worry about what is good content.  We just have to make sure that the creative communities have that freedom to post the content.  Then you can observe what's popular and try to imitate it.

What we see, things that are anchored in culture, something in Ghana, you know, there is nothing more important than a funeral, you can't forget that. Funerals, they're big business.  We will see lots and lots of humorous as online content so that people are looking at how you arrange funerals.  Just giving you an example.

>> Thank you very much.

Please.

>> Thank you.  Just to further comment, if I may, from the perspective of the independent content film entertainment producers, represented in many regions and elsewhere.  The perennial issue they have, how they can assemble official working capital to develop quality content of the kind that local citizens expect rightfully.  It was interesting to hear my colleague from the European broadcasting union talk about the efforts to deploy or redeploy local broadcasters as partners to this creative endeavor that's also a business endeavor.  We also have to factor in the new generation of players in this marketplace and especially over it the stop, OTT platforms.  I think a challenge for the Developing Countries that we work with is to have an ability to complement the content and come through the larger operators which perhaps should remain nameless in this context, which brings us as our colleague said, global content to local viewers which is an interesting proposition.

What's really interesting, regulatory, business enablement terms, it is what happens to local players, to perhaps optimize the local content better than anybody else, that meet a business model that's sustainable.  I'm thinking about the local TV in Nigeria, an example I have used in the past, they're able to understand not only what local people want to see in terms of films, but to price access to the films on the platform in an optimized way that corresponds to the realistic purchasing power of local people.  These platforms actually started live servicing the middle class in the United States, U.K., elsewhere, and the challenge now is to bring content to local people be it on mobile telephone, as was referred to by the lady in orange and on other platforms.  We think it is interesting, the panelists views on how to create a business enablement strategy to enable local producers to actually sustain businesses, contribute to jobs and exports and innovation in this respect

>> Before giving the floor to the panel to answer the questions, or comment on the comments, I would first introduce our remote moderator, a former member of the ICANN board and he's also now a member of the at‑large adviser Committee at ICANN.  Let me introduce our Rapporteur, a former Chair of at large advising Committee at ICANN and also a current Chair.

Now for the questions.

Who wants to start?

>> ROULA MIKHAEL: Quickly, I want to mention that, of course, while taking and talking about local content, the asks that you mentioned, I respect it and there is a lot of different stakeholder working to ensure not only producing of the content but the distribution.  I just focus on the creation of the local content because that's what we are working on now and just to shed light on the challenges, it is a challenge of the creation.  Just to start with the point of creating local content and the local contents that really serve the needs of the people to be informed.  I'm talking now ‑‑ I'm talking here about media and good governance and media and the role of the media as our watchdog and we all know that sometimes there is a lot of restriction to freely express opinion or even to freely choose topics and go deeply and create content around it and provide it to the audience.  It is a challenge.

For this reason, which is to only focus on creation of the content, of course talking about business model, it is very, very important and we're trying to create more and more, still our younger generations, they don't realize the opportunity of the Internet and the technology that's brought to us.  The culture, when we ‑‑ what we're trying to do, just to work also with universities and invite students to think outside of the box and feel they can really contribute and create their own content, their own production.

There is a lot of need here to fund sustainable initiatives that we can see around the region.

>> This is something that this Forum can help to do.

Before giving the floor to Khalid Ibrahim who wants to comment, I would like to ask if we have remote questions.

Okay.

>> KHALID IBRAHIM: Very quickly, you talked about the fact that there is no reliable initiatives with regard to broadcasting.  The reality is still hoping that you can do a lot with regard to the various institutions that we have across the region. 

Also there's a need for profit and dealing with governments in the region.  It is very important to look at the guidelines and Human Rights. 

As to the World Bank, there is the opportunity in some countries to start to use the ePayment like in Iraq, other countries, and I think it was mentioned, something very important, we still ‑‑ it really needs to be tackled, addressed, we need to analyze data in order to create information and look at the knowledge that could be useful for humanity, but all of that is not something very simply in ‑‑ it is a strategy that will allow everybody to contribute, as you know yourself, we have solved many of the problems that I mentioned.  Me and my colleagues.

>> Thank you.  Please.

>> LAYAL BAHNAM: I want to add regarding the questions, you asked about policies in the region that could bring back the ownership of the data, so there are many incentives that can be given to really encourage people to use and reuse the data and I would give the example of a server, of what was done with an issue of a circular to support start‑ups.  It was the time when the start‑ups were booming and because of this support from the central bank.  There was a policy to encourage this ecosystem and this is what should be done.  Governments should really invest in this part and to provide incentives when it comes to policies or other circulars and other kinds of encouragements to support the ecosystem when it comes to creating data and having ownership to the data and creating local content as well.

The policies, in this place, it can encourage people to have more content, local content and to have this ownership of the data.

>> Regarding the copyright laws, unfortunately, in many countries, in many places, there are Intellectual Property laws or if they're not in forced but we can feel now that the attitudes, they're beginning to change.  For example, as well, in Lebanon, with the booming of the start‑ups and many applications that are now being invented and created, so there is an attitude from the government to protect more and more Intellectual Property and they started as well talking about further enhancing the laws that would protect such rights and the same for ePayments, in all of the countries, it is the fact that it is really slow, the eTransactions, it has been in the parliament for 12 years until now and until now it has not been adopted but because of this political will to support this hub that's being currently vibrant in Lebanon, so even the latest are being ‑‑ there is a political will to provide for the laws that are supported in this area.

What else?  Public broadcast as well, this is what I mentioned, of course, it is an opportunity and we think it is a great opportunity to increase the digital local content and also unfortunately it is related in a particular way because even the term public broadcast, they do not exist and what we call the public broadcast, it is official, state or state TV and not public broadcast and we keep correcting the concept.  The concept doesn't exist even at the grassroots level.  Over time, there is a lot of confusion between state broadcasts and public broadcasts and this is where we should all work to reinsure that this is a public broadcast overall and a main rule is to support local content, and sometimes this is under the conditions and terms of the public broadcasts but also they're not enforced.

>> Thank you.

Anyone else that wants to ‑‑ I would like to answer our friend from Botswana asking about what's the relevant content, what's good content.

Of course, 50 seconds of video, it is content.  It may be important for people.  In my point of view, relative content, it is the content which is useful for the community, for the grassroots.  You see in the future the Internet of Things, that we need huge number of applications for those things and the applications, if you take them from the north, they'll be cheap or on the shelf, you can take them very easy, if you buy them from the north, they'll not be adapted to our needs because they were made for their need.

Local content, local language, it is very important.  Any content which is useful for the grass root, for the population, it is the good content.  I don't think that if we have only those small videos about music, et cetera, we're browsing content.  We're not.

Also, there's an issue, cultural content, we're not producing the cultural content.  This is something very difficult to address in my point of view.

I don't think that we are able to address it.

We have the opportunity, as I said, for our young people to produce applications in the future.

If you will be present in this market, it will be a good market.  It will serve our grassroots, our population.

I think it will be really the aim of our efforts to promote local content.

Any other question?

Okay.

Last one.

>> About content, I have a question of relevant content, it is really debatable.  I think content should be open and then filtered by the users themselves.  Sometimes short videos are also informed for some people to be famous to get their message for start‑ups for music, I heard once a piece of music played by a small kid, it became universal because it is a simple content.  .

>> Of course, of course.  I won't say that they're not important.  They're important for the people, for those that find them useful.  There are other things that are really useful for our population and we need to develop content for them.

The last one.

>> One more thing to add, I gave it as an example to say only especially the Arab world, some countries we should let the users themselves or the population build its own selective filters and not by the government as happening now.

>> Not at all.  Yes.

>> I just want to ‑‑ I would like to say that the update on the world of Internet webinars, it was drafted in the last few months and will be published for public Consultation in the coming two days, production of local content is set as one of the priorities to work on.  Thank you.

>> Thank you very much for the information.

Last word for our Forum.  You want to speak.  Okay.

>> Thank you. 

I have been taking notes, but I'll speak in my own voice. 

Just one thing about content, I have noticed there are two different types of content, deep cultural content that may actually take a lot of resources for quality programs and so on.  There is also what we call popular content, which actually is very popular with the younger generations.  You will find YouTube channels with millions of subscribers with content that you may look at and think my goodness, what's that!  It is actually‑cost to produce and there are real opportunities today, some people in one yore are collecting hundreds of thousands of subscribers.  I have noticed and I do follow this closely, there are very few vloggers, very few of them.  He had should have more.  There is certainly a market for that.

Certainly in local languages.  That's something that can ‑‑ that can go very quickly and give rise very quickly and also produces some income because of the YouTube rules, et cetera, and the advertising that you can have on those.  Thank you.

>> Thank you.

Please.

>> Very quick.

We're at the last session on the Agenda, so we already used ten minutes over time but nobody is killing us for that.

I wanted to tell you, thank you very much.

I think we really managed by joining your session to get a lot of input.

I'm happy there is a transcript, otherwise I would be taking notes at 100 kilometers an hour, something like that.

There are two things, one thing that I really heard that is so useful, a panelist giving the description of the roles of different stakeholders, what it could be, making suggestions on the Civil Society government.  I think it is something that directly can go into our work.

On the other, the second, we have been collecting Examples and we have had some from Latin America, some from Asia‑Pacific region, we have had some from Europe.  What you have collected here, don't hesitate to contact me afterwards also, I'm happy that there is had one also from your region.  It is important to have them in ways that you're able to put on the table and these are issues and solutions that may also be useful for people dealing with the same topics in the rest of the world.  Thank you.

>> Just to finalize, reinforcing first big thanks for merging.  I think it was very useful and accomplished the purpose of having more inputs and as Glenn said, we didn't have many information, I think it will be very useful for the BPF itself this year and looking ahead, looking for next year, we would really enjoy to receive your support and perhaps continuing forward in the second year, third year of the BPF in 2018 tackling all of the issues that have been raised from copyright, digital, cultural gap, et cetera.

>> Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Thank you for the forum.  Thank you for all of our panelists.

I think they deserve an applause.

I think this session was productive.  Unfortunately, there is a few attendance because of the change at the last minute of the room.  I thank you again for being here.

Thank you.  Thank you for your leadership.  Thank you. 

 

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