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IGF 2018 - Day 2 - Salle X - OF5 Measuring a free, open, rights based and inclusive Internet

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Paris, France, from 12 to 14 November 2018. 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: Good afternoon, everyone. We want to start on time because we have one hour and plenty of speakers, so, please, be seated. Ladies and gentlemen, please.

Thank you very much for joining us on this open forum. It is our UNESCO open forum about measuring a free, open, rights-based and inclusive Internet. It is an honor for us to welcome you here. We have wonderful speakers around the table in this wonderful room. And we want to explain how we assess the Internet universality.

We elaborated these indicators with a lot of engagement from different organizations, from different stakeholders, in different countries and around the world, and we are really pleased to present around the table different speakers from different perspectives and different countries that we talk about how important it is. Of course, it is our pleasure as UNESCO, our role with Internet governance is important because we believe that it is important and our mandate to engage with different stakeholders and to deal with Internet governance issues when it comes to Internet development.

As UNESCO is a United Nations organization, an intergovernmental agency under the United Nations umbrella, we work on Internet governance since the beginning, since 2005 when IGF was established. We are really happy as our Member States approved the Internet Universality Principles, accessible, openness, rights-based and multi-stakeholder. We now bring these indicators with all our experts to be exposed and to be presented to you and to present to Member States next week, I think, with the IPDC Council. The IPDC is important because it is a governmental programme that we use actually to work on these indicators.

I do not want to be long because we have plenty of speakers, and I expect that there are a lot of questions, especially from different stakeholders participating in this IGF. And welcome to UNESCO, and welcome to this IGF. I will be happy to introduce David Souter, who is the commissioner and author for Internet universality indicators. Then I will give the floor to our panelists starting by Enrico Calandro, research manager, Research ICT Africa from South Africa. Then as we did some pilots in three countries, including Brazil, Senegal and Thailand, I will be happy to give the floor to our colleagues from Brazil, Alexandre Barbosa and Mr João Brant. Alexandre is the head of the Center of Studies for Information and Communications Technology, CETIC.br, and Mr João Brant, consultant for the implementation of the UNESCO's Internet Universality Indicators Framework in Brazil.

I do not know if Ms. Pirogrong is here. Okay, she will be joining us later on. She is from Thailand. She is a member of the content broadcaster section, National Broadcasting and Telecommunication from Thailand. Then I will give the floor to my left, Ms. Silvia Grundmann, Head of Media and Internet Division and Secretary of CDMSI from Council of Europe. And then we open the floor for questions, and we are looking forward to have a lot of questions from you. And at the end we will close the session by Ms. Albana Shala, the Chair of Intergovernmental Programme for Development of Communication. She will maybe highlight how important it is for IPDC to develop these indicators.

I do not want to take so much for your time, and I will give the floor directly to Mr. Souter to present the indicators.

>> DAVID SOUTER: Thank you very much. I have been asked to spend no more than five or six or seven minutes introducing the document, I will be brief and I will try not to speak too fast.

First of all, though, I would like to thank UNESCO for the opportunity to work on this project, which I hope you will agree is an important new initiative, and also to thank APC, the Association for Progressive Communications, which coordinated the project, and I would like to thank my research partner for the work she has done alongside me on it, which has been invaluable.

The project is rooted in two established UNESCO initiatives. In the media development indicators which have been used to assess media development in some 30 countries now over the past decade or so and also in the Internet universality approach which was adopted by UNESCO's General Council a few years back now, four or five years ago, that Internet Universality Framework roots the future of the internet as UNESCO envisages it in rights, openness, accessibility to all and multi-stakeholder participation.

The purpose of this indicator framework is to help governments and other stakeholders to do three things: firstly, to develop a clear understanding of the national Internet environment in which they are working, then secondly to assess how well that national environment conforms with UNESCO's R.O.A.M principles, so with the principles and commitments to rights, openness, accessibility to all and multi-stakeholder participation, and thirdly to develop policy approaches and practical interventions that will enable national governments and national Internet community to meet those goals more effectively.

The indicator framework is not, and I would stress this, it is not intended to compare countries with one another or to draw up lead tables of countries. It is for a much more sophisticated and substantive approach at national level in understanding and developing appropriate policies. Its focus is on the accurate gathering of evidence to enable progress, collaborative progress, towards those goals, rather than on advocacy.

I will say something briefly about three things, then. First about the way the indicators were developed, then about the structure of the indicator framework, and thirdly about the future implementation. Developing the indicators has been a scientific and rigorous process. They build on a wide range of established work and resources which have been put together over the years by a wide range of actors, by United Nations and other intergovernmental agencies, by governments, by research centers, by academic bodies, by businesses, by civil society and by Internet professional groups. Could you go back to the project timeline slide, please? Thank you. 

There have been two extensive consultation processes involved. The first was on general principles and the second on a first draft of the indicators. In each of those phases, more than 200 contributions were received and discussed. Many governments and other stakeholders contributed, and they made substantial detailed comments which were taken into account as the indicators were developed. The development of these indicators has also been informed by dialogue within UNESCO, with UNESCO's Institute for Statistics, with other United Nations agencies and a multi-stakeholder advisory board of international experts.

The indicators which are in the document have also been rigorously tested and we will be hearing about that shortly. Firstly, there were four pretests which were intended to validate the viability of gathering and analyzing data for the indicators that are proposed. And then after that there were three part pilots in which research partners took a set of core indicators, about one-third of the entire framework, and assessed those within particular countries. It is this rigorously tested set of indicators that is going to be presented to UNESCO's IPDC Council next week.

Now some words about the structure. These diagrams are taken from the booklet, so you can see them in there. The indicators are in five groups. They are the four R.O.A.M categories of rights, openness, accessibility to all, and multi-stakeholder participation, and then an additional category of cross-cutting indicators which is concerned with gender, children, sustainable development, trust and security, and legal and ethical aspects of the Internet. Within each category there are a number of themes which are illustrated on this slide here. And I do not have time to go through these as I might otherwise have done in detail now, but I will leave this slide up at the end of my remarks so that you can look more carefully at what is included in those themes. And they will be - I should have looked up the page number – they are on page 14 of the booklet.

And then if we move to the next slide, each theme includes a number of questions, and each question is associated with one or more indicators. Together these questions and indicators address the whole range of issues with which Internet universality is concerned. Finally, within the document we have included recommended sources for these indicators which are a guide for the use of researchers, and these will vary quite significantly from country to country.

The indicators we have included in the framework can be divided into three main types. Some are concerned with the existence and practical implementation of institutions or legal arrangements, some are quantitative measurements, some are qualitative assessments. The evidence that is available across this range is obviously going to vary considerably between countries. Some countries will have much more evidence than others. Some data in some countries will be timelier, more reliable, more extensive than equivalent data in other countries. In some cases where data are available for a number of years, it will be much easier to establish trends. In every case, though, it is going to be important for researchers to look critically and carefully at the evidence base which is available to assess why that evidence is available, what it says, when it says it about, and what it implies for future policy and practical interventions.

Now there are a lot of indicators in this framework, and that is deliberate because it helps to address the diversity and in some cases the deficiency of data available. The framework as a whole should provide a collage of evidence which is sufficiently substantial to allow a serious assessment of current circumstances and policy options in almost every country. We have suggested a number of contextual indicators, too, which are concerned with issues like development and demography. These do not form part of the framework itself, but they are intended to help with the contextualization of findings and the policy prescriptions which are developed for particular national circumstances.

A few words finally concerning implementation. And I have put back the slide now which shows the categories and themes. Implementation is going to be a substantial exercise, and we will hear experience from that on the partial pilots shortly. It is going to require significant resources. UNESCO hopes that most assessments will make use of the whole indicator framework, but equally recognizes that this will not be possible in every case. For that reason, we have also prepared a subset of core indicators which includes about one-third of the indicators in the comprehensive framework and includes indicators from every theme within that framework. It draws right across the entire range. There is no specific model proposed as to who should undertake assessments. Anyone and everyone is invited or is to be invited to make use of them. However, UNESCO believes that it is valuable to involve diverse stakeholder groups and diverse perspectives on the Internet among those who are involved in any research team because that would encourage deeper and more open investigation, more discussion of diverse perspectives, which should lead to better understanding and better outcomes.

Finally, to facilitate all of this, an implementation guide is now in preparation, and that should be published around the end of the year. Thanks for your attention. I will hand you back to the chat.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, David. Thank you for you really presenting it in a very, very quick manner. I know it is in the sake of time. All of the indicators, all of the slides that are presented are available in the book that is, again, available.

First, before giving the floor to my next speaker, I would like also to thank those supporting this work, and especially I want to thank the Swedish International Development Agency, the Internet Society, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN, the Brazilian Network Information Center, and the Latin American and Caribbean Network Information Center, LACNIC, for their support for this project. We involved more than 2,000 experts worldwide, and it took us 18 months to work with all different stakeholders to achieve all these indicators that were presented briefly by Dr. Souter. And I also want to thank the APC Consortium with David Souter that helped us to achieve these indicators.

Let us move to our next speaker, Mr. Enrico Calandro, Research Manager, Research ICT Africa, from South Africa. Welcome. The floor is yours.

>> ENRICO CALANDRO: Thank you, Chair. And thank you, UNESCO, for giving us the opportunity of sharing our experience of conducting the pretesting of the Internet universality indicators in Nigeria and the piloting in Senegal.

As David mentioned, the objective of the pretesting in Nigeria was to determine how feasible it would be to implement the Internet universality indicators in the country. To do that from a methodological perspective, we have a two-pronged approach. We conducted some desk research which aimed at reviewing the indicators if they were available already in the country, located potential sources, their credibility, and where not available, the likelihood of these indicators to be available or accessible in future.

The second approach, we conducted some key informative interviews with members of the Internet stakeholder community in Nigeria from the public, civil society and private sector, and they were considered as highly knowledgeable people in this subject matter. One of the main stakeholders was also the Nigerian Communication Commission because it is one of the main actors in the country that has got the mandate of collecting ICT indicators in the country. It is the telecommunications regulator.

One of the main results of this pretesting is that currently it is actually difficult to collect these UNESCO Internet universality indicators. According to our researcher on the field, only 18 percent of these indicators would actually readily be accessible in Nigeria. It divided the remaining indicators. In 40 percent, it would be difficult to locate and retrieve in the format structure requested by the Internet universality indicators, and 41 were actually considered almost impossible to locate under the current circumstances in the country.

There are a few reasons for these evaluations. As I said, first of all, the non-availability of primary data. Where indicators were actually identified, it was very difficult to perform advanced analytics as required by the framework. For instance, very difficult to do disaggregation by demographics, by different location, urban, rural, and no longitudinal data also exists across these different demographics, and where also the surveys are conducted in the country. For instance, researchers conducted the survey last year. These kinds of initiatives are actually sporadic, so they are not done every year. There were also some data access and collection challenges. It seems that there is lack of awareness amongst state officials of the importance and benefits of collecting indicators. And the public available databases come only with basic indicators, so they do not have all these nuances and that is currently in the framework.

Data collection also should involve state agency, and somehow in Nigeria it was constrained by hoarding and red tape. Also in the country there is a Freedom of Information Act which grants rights to the citizen to access public data. Not always public officials feel they have to comply with that. The results are some general unwillingness of state officials to make this data publicly available and accessible.

And then another reason for difficulties conducting this kind of research is the absence of a local research on the ICT sector in Nigeria. There is not a strong institutional capacity, lack of technical knowledge of these issues, and, as I said, there is not disaggregated data.

With regards to the pilot exercise in Senegal, the researcher reached similar conclusions. What it did was an investigation of the national Internet environment, making use of a selection of the indicators, so used the core indicators in respect of the ROA categories as presented by David, and the full set of indicators for the other categories. He identified similar problems.

There are also a few recommendations that actually we made on how to move things forward. We believe that there should be a need for a dedicated entity that should be established potentially by UNESCO to actually guard their in-country data and also develop primary research because it is not always available, and to formally involve the public sector from the onset, so since the beginning of the exercise. It is also very important to identify and appoint a central coordinator within the government and public institution, and potentially also to consider to reduce the number of indicators, especially in the developing countries. Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Enrico, for giving us this feedback about the pretesting in African countries. You know that Africa is a priority for UNESCO, and we believe that these indicators need to be implemented. It is not just a theory that we need just on those. We need to support the Member States later on and the way to assess all these indicators and this is part of our duty now as UNESCO. Once these indicators will be endorsed, our work will start to support Member States, different Member States. This pretesting among these different countries is in order at least to assess the complexity and the feasibility of this.

Okay, next. I will give the floor directly to Mr. Alexandre Barbosa of France from CTB.br. It is really an engagement with Brazil with UNESCO on this topic. I will be happy to listen to you

>> ALEXANDRE BARBOSA: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

First of all, I would like to thank UNESCO for having invited NIC.br, the Brazilian Network Information Center, and CETIC to be represented in this important session. It is, indeed, a great pleasure to be able to share with you our experience in implementing UNESCO's Internet universality indicators. I also would like to say that we were involved in this project since the very beginning.

In this very same IGF meeting in 2013 in Bali, UNESCO, LACNIC and NIC.br started a conversation on the importance of developing a framework and a set of indicators to measure Internet development in countries. The result of this conversation was that NIC.br and LACNIC decided to finance the first concept note document that was later on presented in a consultation meeting during 2013 in San Paolo. And in the past two years, NIC.br and CETIC, along with UNESCO, have coordinated regional and national public consultations of the R.O.A.M framework, and we have also conducted the pretest and the pilot of these Internet universality indicators in Brazil.

I do acknowledge that the R.O.A.M framework and the proposed indicators are relevant to measure the Internet development, and are also, at the same time, of high policy relevance since they constitute an excellent tool for countries to produce data that are relevant for advancing human rights on the Internet, and also I would mention freedom of speech, right to access to public information, personal data protection, among others, but they are also important to produce relevant data for the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The multi-stakeholder Internet governance model in Brazil represented by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee, CGI.br and NIC.br, and also their commitment with regular data production on ICT statistics were two key success factors for this exercise in Brazil. This exercise was really important, not only to understand the feasibility of data collection in all four dimensions that David has just presented of the R.O.A.M framework, but also to better understand the role and the capacity of different stakeholders in providing access to reliable data sources, both quantitative and qualitative as you will see that is required in the framework.

To conclude, I would like to say that this exercise revealed the relevance of the R.O.A.M framework, not only for policymakers to decide about policies and legislation fostering Internet development, but also for civil society, organizations, academia, and I would say for the society as a whole.

I will now pass to Mr. João Brant who was the consultant for both pretest and the pilot in Brazil during the data collection and also for formatting along with CETIC the final report that was submitted by us to UNESCO.

>> JOÃO BRANT: Thank you, Alexandre. Thank you, Chair. Actually, we will reinforce four issues that I think are important to highlight in this opportunity.

Firstly, the opportunity to rely on robust institutions. The application, of course, will be better; the more robust the agency responsible for measuring primary data on access and use of ICT. We had the opportunity to work with CETIC and NIC.br, part of the structure of the Steering Committee in Brazil, which really made things easier. For those who were not so lucky, the application itself may help defining or amplifying the scope of an agency of measurement and statistics. I will take the indicators also as an opportunity to enhance the domestic conditions and structure.

The second issue is the application will be better the larger the network of organizations and specialists that can be referenced as a source in the country based on, of course, evidence-based assessments. We really got the benefit of a strong Brazilian civil society organization, and I would like to thank all the Brazilian civil society organizations that really contributed to this report, and it was very important as well, and I think, of course, in a country like Brazil, it changes and enhances the report having this opportunity.

Third issue, I would reinforce the idea of participation and engaging civil society and academia and private sector players in this debate. We had in time and this pilot application to do validation process or previous debates, but I would reinforce, this, of course, makes a report and application stronger.

Finally, some issues of challenges and opportunities that we had and we faced during the implementation process. Firstly, it is necessary to avoid confirmation bias of the researchers. Of course, it is always a risk in researchers like this, and this involves dealing with credible and verifiable sources. It is a strong recommendation that comes from UNESCO, but I would like to reinforce it.

Secondly, in large countries as Brazil, we have different levels with different realities. It is important to define beforehand the scope of application. In our case, it was a national scope only.

Third issue, the absence of sources and data available. I would then reinforce the idea that we have to use the process to improve collection and organization of data in the country by official bodies and NGOs. We did recommendations to government and to civil society after the application as a way to feedback and to get a stronger framework for application the next time.

Finally, I would only reinforce that the application is not only a form of getting benefit of the indicators. What these indicators create is a common ground and an internationally validated framework that can and must be used as an advocacy tool for human rights and for an open Internet.

I would like to thank you very much for the opportunity and to thank also CETIC and NIC for the opportunity of applying that in Brazil. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. I just want to recall that CETIC.br is a category two center of UNESCO and is engaging in different work plans with UNESCO. I want to thank you again because you are providing very good support to CI especially. We are looking forward to more engagement.

Yeah. Last but not least, our last speaker on the pretesting, Ms. Pirogrong from Thailand. Please, the floor is yours.

>> PIROGRONG RAMASOOTA: Thank you, Chair. And thank you, UNESCO, for letting me take part in this really interesting and very insightful exercise into the Internet as a universal resource.

I am a social science researcher who has worked extensively on Internet freedom and rights, so much of my talk today will deal with the rights, which is the R in the R.O.A.M. Overall, we find the R.O.A.M framework provides a workable and overarching scheme grouping a broad range of factors that shape Internet development as a universal resource. But based on the experience of the IUI in Thailand in which extensive desk research was carried out alongside interviews with 20 key informants from policymaking regulatory industry, academic and civil society sectors, we have a number of interesting findings in terms of applicability of the IUI to a national context, and we have selected a few to share with you today.

First, while we find that UNESCO's indicators on right and R aptly tackle the core components of rights and freedom that are related to the Internet as a fundamental resource, we also detect the constant tendency to seek answers about existence of legal framework that enable human rights or the existence of restrictions on rights and freedom using international right agreements as benchmarks. For our piloting team, our researchers were not clear as to what extent and in what nature the report would be sufficiently substantiated on this point.

To answer yes or no to the question which is framed as is there or are there or to give some statistics showing quantitative evidence of certain practice would be sufficient grammatically and semantically from our point of view, and it would not do justice to understanding of rights-based scenarios if there is no qualitative information or even a story to help unravel the complexity and uniqueness of each national situation. This explains why a great deal of information in the Thai piloting report is qualitative and painstaking account of actual cases.

This is particularly true in the post-2014 coup context. We had a coup in 2014, and we are still living under this so-called Democratic pass. In the post-coup context, the security state prevails over everything, and we have witnessed Draconian laws old and new became more intensified in use and consequences to cut freedom of expression and freedom of assembly despite the fact that there are constitutional provisions available on these issues.

Secondly, for the IUI questions that assess the openness or O of the R.O.A.M of the Thai Internet ecosystem, our team finds that the question listed under the whole umbrella appear quite fragmented as they address so many aspects of openness that may not necessarily interconnect or coalesce with one another. Evidently, these questions are meant to assess openness from multifaceted dimensions. Open standards for accessibility, competition, regulatory independence, transparency, net neutrality and availability of diverse service options, among others. In so doing, they lack coherence and do not seem to address a single issue.

Thirdly, under the multi-stakeholder or M indicator, our researchers have qualms about positing ICANN as an exemplar of multi-stakeholder forum for Internet governance. While the structure of ICANN may allow for participation at various levels, apart from the GSE, a country-specific situation and factors that may influence this participation, be it financial, linguistic, political and cultural, are not sufficiently recognized in the IUI.

Based on the unique context of Thailand and from various information and resources reviewed encountered in this piloting exercise, our team has proposed that these additional themes and questions be included in the IUI. First, enabling factors or elements that shape digital Internet competency; second, government spending on online media production and promotion of digital media creation; third, indicator or evidence of privacy awareness online and offline; fourth, indicators or evidence of online activism activities to create significant social change.

In addition, the research team also suggested UNESCO identify a few key and top questions in order for the research team which are have limited time and resource so that they can opt to tackle the smallest set of questions first and later grow the assessment to the full set of questions when the resources permit it. The team also recommends a shelf life of the assessments for each question. Some questions may have a shelf life of one year. This means assessment needs not be done yearly to ensure its utmost reliability. Some questions may have a longer shelf life and need not be updated as frequently. The shelf life will help the future research team by better prioritizing their tasks with available resources. Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. You see that we have performed in four countries. Two in Africa, one Brazil, one Thailand, from different regions presenting, and, of course, we were collecting and analyzing all these responses from the field, and, of course, we will be discussing them with the Member States next week on IPDC Council. This is very important for us because we want the Internet to be universal, and we want to not promote any fragmentation on the Internet. We need to have the same understanding. Of course, there are some difficulties to understand some of these indicators. One indicator can engage a lot of work from UNESCO.

This is why we want to have the same understanding, and, of course, to determine together the best methodology how to assess these indicators, how to implement them in different countries, in different contexts, and I know that different countries in other regions on the same regions have different context and they could be very sensitive to some implementation of these indicators. But we are here in UNESCO to engage with the Member States, to engage with all stakeholders in these countries in order to achieve our goals, to achieve this universality and to assess the right development of the Internet.

Okay. Final, turn to the left and my friend Ms. Silvia Grundmann from Council of Europe. I want to, please, the floor is yours.

>> SILVIA GRUNDMANN: Thank you very much. I would like to begin just congratulating and share my impression to this excellent initiative and to this very deep drill and this extremely thorough multi-stakeholder dialogue. I am greatly impressed. And I would like to underline that we at the Council of Europe share the same approach, namely working with indicators, but our document is a lot more modest. So this is what ours looks like. Please compare it to this initiative, which is a global one.

Like I said, we share the same approach. And I would like to underline what David has said, namely that this is a voluntary exercise, and, thereby, this is an opportunity for all states and for civil society alike to engage into dialogue and to actually keep the Internet open and free. This is why it is so valuable that we all team up and see how we can make good use of the UNESCO Internet universality indicators and also using the Council of Europe Internet Freedom Recommendation to support such indicators, because in the UNESCO initiative, one of the means to verify the compliance with the UNESCO indicators is benchmarking it against our modest document, against our indicators. Now you wonder, indicators, indicators. Yes.

The Council of Europe is a pan-European organization with 47 Member States, so having the big, big Europe on board, but we address mainly Member States. We reach out to civil society in a structured dialogue to produce policy recommendations that then go to the member states and invite them to follow them, for instance, when they make laws. So, better law-making. There you can use our Council of Europe recommendations, and you can use them globally should you like to do so.

Now, our recommendations are very much based on the law of the European Court for Human Rights. We distill the court's case law. Again, this can be a source of inspiration for everybody. Now, the UNESCO indicators are very much complementary, and they are a lot larger in scope and also, as I said, globally. They reach out into all wakes of society, and this is the value of such indicators. And as we have just learned in some countries, it is only 18 percent of the indicators that are accessible. That is also quite telling, because if that is the case, that should make everybody think why it is like that. There might be good reasons for it. That is okay. But probably if you cannot come up with convincing explanations, that is also telling.

Therefore, I find the methodology extremely convincing. And I see that this mutual reinforcement at the level of two big international organizations can lead to synergies. Therefore, what I will do is I will present this initiative to my stakeholders, to our Council of Europe Member States in my specific committee where I service government experts at the highest level, so that way we feed in the UNESCO indicators already at a certain policymaking level, and I will invite them to reflect on how to implement the indicators. And I will do that already in November. Then at the next step, I would like to have UNESCO colleagues with me in June to address our government high level experts and to ask them what are your reflections so that we can come to some concrete results in the implementation. Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you. The reason that we invited you is also to highlight how important that you work together. It is not just we are inventing the wheel here in UNESCO. We are working with different organizations and we join our efforts together to achieve our goals. This is very, very important to highlight how it is valuable to work together. Thank you very much.

So this is the first part for this open forum. I will open the floor to some questions, if you have any questions to our panelists. I do not know. If you want, you can just raise your hands. Yes. Please, sir. Please introduce yourself.

>> MARK NELSON: Yes. I am Mark Nelson from the Center for International Media Assistance.

I was curious about how much these indicators are designed to be comparable from one country to the other and used over time. Is it just a study at the country level? To what extent does it go into regional differences and whether or not they are comparable over time?

>> MODERATOR: Is there another question so we can take the question and give the floor to the panelists? Okay.

>> MURILO VIEIRA KOMNISKI: Thank you very much. I would like, firstly, to congratulate all panelists. I am Counsellor Murilo Vieira Komniski representing the delegation of Brazil to UNESCO.

One issue I would like, if you could, if all panelists could further explore, if possible, is up to what extent the very issue of access to information and the gap between rich and poor in access to Internet was focused in this report and, also, what would be the best way to address the issue under the perspective of the panelists and, of course, of the Director General also. Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Is there another question? Otherwise, I will leave the floor to -- okay.

David, you have two questions and I will be commenting.

>> DAVID SOUTER: Firstly, on the issue of the difficulty and the challenge that there is in obtaining data in some of the indicators, in certain countries much more than others. As I tried to say in the introduction, this is in a sense by design. It is because it is challenging and difficult to obtain data in many countries for certain areas that we need to have a substantial range of indicators from which it is possible in each country to select some that will enable evidence to be brought together.

The response to a lack of evidence should not be we cannot do evidence-based policymaking. The response to a lack of evidence should be what evidence is available and how do we make most use of it? Secondly, what do we do to ensure that there is better evidence in future? The sense that that is how that set of issues should be seen. They are not intended for comparison between countries. I cannot remember where that question came from around the room. They are not intended for comparison between countries. That is very explicit. There are lots of other indicator sets that are intended to do that. These are not. Like the media development indicators, they are directly about analyzing a particular national environment in its own terms.

As for over time, I mean, yes, it would be very useful if investigations like this were done on a periodic basis, say every five years or so. I might add in those terms, I think UNESCO acknowledges that the nature of change in the Internet world is so rapid that it will be necessary to review these indicators in, say, five years' time anyway because there will be other things that should be in by then.

In terms of the issues around the accessibility for all section covers those access issues and enables them to be done in a nuanced and disaggregated way where data are available to be sufficiently nuanced and disaggregated and encourages thinking, at least, about that if not. Access was specifically what you mentioned. There was one other point you mentioned, I think? Yes. The disaggregation that is suggested covers a wide range of differences, and that does include income and educational gaps.

>> MODERATOR: To also comment about the benchmarking issues. We in UNESCO, we are not really interested in ranking Member States. This is very important to know. Our objective is to map the development of these countries country-by-country because the situation is different. We are not interested in saying, okay, these countries are good, and this is a country that is bad, and then, you know, the polarization that we can see afterwards. The most important thing is to map all those countries when it comes to these indicators. It is a very comprehensive set of indicators. We cannot see one indicator apart from the others. It is comprehensive. At the same time, the most important thing is to raise awareness of how to access them and how to improve them in the country level with all the stake holders within the involvement and the engagement of the government and, of course, with the support of UNESCO in the field. This is how we see these indicators.

It is not our objective to say these countries are really bad or enemies of freedom or whatever when it comes to human rights. No, not at all. I know that there are some maybe other indicators or maybe other organizations doing that or NGOs or whatever. For us, the most important thing is to map these indicators and to show the situation for the Member States on how they are developing, how they are achieving these indicators, and this is very important to understand.

Good. I think we are up in this first part of the session. Time is going on. We are perfectly on time. I give the floor to our friend, the Chair of IPDC, Ms Albana, for the closing remarks of this first part, and then I will give the floor to the second part which will be the launch of our manual on this information. Please, Ms Albana. Please.

>> ALBANA SHALA: Thank you, ADG, for giving me the floor.

Distinguished delegates, Excellencies, dear colleagues, talking about the Internet today is talking about the elephant in the room. There was an exhibition involved a few months ago and it was picking the Internet apart. How can we pick apart a big elephant in the room that is moving fast? And we have been trying to do that in the past hour with distinguished speakers who have talked about how can we describe but also make policy when it comes to the way of how the kind of Internet we want.

The kind of Internet we want is basically saying the kind of society we want, the kind of future we want, the kind of leaders we want, the kind of youth we want. It is all connected. And as such, the programme that I Chair, the International Programme for Development of Communication, has played a modest role in promoting this discussion. Silvia put forward that little folder. This is a folder, another folder about the programme. It is comprised of 39 Member States, members of UNESCO and of United Nations, and it is the only United Nations programme mandated multi-forum, multi-lateral forum in the United Nations System mandated to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote communications and the development of communications all over the world. It is time maybe for the programme to change its name into digital communications because, indeed, this is the kind of world we are living today.

Now, responding to the rise of this digital age, the IPDC members have been deciding and taking forward the concept of Internet universality. And based on the discussions there, further it was agreed during the UNESCO's 38th general conference to move and to see how these indicators are applicable. I think many issues have been said, but what I would like to point out that might be relevant as a closing remark for this session is that these are research instruments, that these are instruments that can be used by governments, but as well as other stakeholders within their national landscapes.

These are instruments, as it was pointed by the previous speaker, that they provide an opportunity to enhance and to improve the situation, and that is also worth noting, taking with us. As a body that is dedicated to the development of communication, the instruments and the indicators are also about public access to information and fundamental freedoms. And this brings us to the SDGs, especially 1610. Now, next week the Council will gather and these indicators and the pilots will be discussed and will be presented, and we hope that the Member States will agree to endorse these indicators so that there will be even more interested Member States to do this exercise.

Another thing that is worth mentioning again and again is that this is a voluntary process, so it will have to reflect the willingness of the Member States to build on the indicators as they did with the media development indicators.

Finally, I would like to thank the UNESCO's Freedom of Expression section and the IPDC team that have organized 41 face-to-face consultations with 2,000 experts, as well as I would like to thank the Member States that have put forward 300 contributions and they were engaged during the consultations, the consultation process developing the indicators in the past 18 months. I certainly believe that if we manage to endorse the indicators, we will have more of a common ground at local and international level where we can advocate for more freedom, for more rights, for more participation, and we can promote good practices, and that is at the core of IPDC's work as well. This will not concern only us. It will concern the youth. It will concern our children. It will also concern the marginalized and the ones who are not yet even on the Internet as we speak.

IPDC looks forward to working with all of you in this endeavor. And let me thank our main donor for this effort, which is the Swedish government, and as well as the APC Consortium for all the efforts, and our main consultant, David Souter, for the crucial support that you have been giving to this project, as well as ISOC, ICANN, NIC Brazil and LACMIC. Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Chair.

I would like to close the ceremony, this session. I thank Albana personally and all the speakers to be here to intervene. Let us make a good transition to our second part of this open forum.

I give the floor directly to my colleague, Guy, to moderate this second part.

>> GUY BERGER: Thank you. In case you thought this session was only about measuring the Internet, it is fake news. There is another part.

Before I start with the other part, please take a hard copy of this Internet indicator draft publication. There are copies out there.

The second part of this event is the launch of this book which was commissioned through the Secretariat. IPDC supported the cost of this because it is concerned with the education of journalists, and two editors were appointed to collect and develop this book, which is called Journalism, Fake News, and Disinformation. There are hard copies here and you can also download it free.

One of the editors is here with us, and this is Julie Posetti who works currently for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford, the United Kingdom.

Julie, I want to ask you a couple of questions about this book and then we will sort of officially launch it into the air. The first question is: The title Journalism, Fake New, and Disinformation, and the word fake news is crossed out. It is very strange to have a book title with a term crossed out. Why is fake news crossed out in the title?

>> JULIE POSETTI: For two key reasons. The first reason is that it is essentially an oxymoron fake news. If it is news, that is if it is verifiable information produced and shared in the public interest, it is not fake. And secondly, and most importantly, because all around the world from liberal democracies to the other end of the spectrum we are seeing political leaders weaponize this term and use it to target journalists and independent journalism as a way of chilling critical reporting, as a way of trying to circumvent the exposure of a whole range of public interest issues. We determined that we need to move the conversation along as my colleague Claire Wardell who did a major report for the Council of Europe wrote about information disorders. We need to come up with new language and new ways of talking about this crisis. It is a very serious issue and we cannot see this term deployed in a way that undermines the role of journalism that is fundamental to sustaining open societies.

>> MODERATOR: Okay, thank you. I know that in the book it also makes a strong point that weak journalism is not disinformation

>> JULIE POSETTI: No. That is true.

>> MODERATOR: Do you want to comment on that? And then journalism we do not agree with is not disinformation. Disinformation is something else.

>> JULIE POSETTI: That is right. You can think about three categories of disinformation or what used to be under the umbrella of fake news. One is misinformation, that is something that is shared perhaps without ill intent or inadvertently or unwittingly shared that is not correct; disinformation which is deliberately constructed falsehood that is shared with a particular purpose; and then there is malinformation which, again, is a term that was coined by Claire Wardell from Harvard in the first draft to describe a process of information with malicious intent. That could be a mix of accurate information and disinformation shared with malicious intent. We see that manifesting I think most potently and urgently in the context of disinformation campaigns that are drive via social media but are often state-sponsored that target journalists, and in particular female journalists, with a view to trying to misrepresent them and cause disrepute in the context of their reporting on issues that are critical of governments, for example.

>> MODERATOR: Okay, thank you. We know that some disinformation is in the form of slogans. Some is hashtags. Some is fabricated images. Some is memes. But some of it pretends to be journalism.

>> JULIE POSETTI: Yeah, that is right.

>> MODERATOR: Okay. Comment on that, then. I am going to ask you: What does the book say after making these clarifications?

>> JULIE POSETTI: Sure. And to pick up on your earlier point, just because you do not like news, just because you do not like journalism, does not make it fake. I think that is something that we do need to counteract. Bad journalism is not the same as disinformation. Some of the worst examples of disinformation involve the manipulation of content. There have been cases with the BBC badge and the CNN badge used on video in the context of elections in Kenya, for example, as a way of trying to pollute the information stream in the context of elections. What was the second part of your question?

>> MODERATOR: What is the key message of the book? You have got these clarifications that you do not like the term fake news. You prefer disinformation. There are different kinds of disinformation. Some is pretending to be news. What is the message in the book after having made those clarifications?

>> JULIE POSETTI: Sure. The book is aimed at journalists, journalism educators, trainers, students of journalism, policymakers, regulators. It is predominantly about equipping people with the capacity to assess information in a way that enables them to share information that is verified to avoid ramping up the disinformation crisis. We are targeting journalists and journalism educators as a way of strengthening journalism and its fight back against disinformation. We believe that collaborative efforts in this regard are absolutely pivotal.

But the message is this is not just a challenge for journalists and journalism educators and researchers and governments and platforms. It is all of those things. But it is also a challenge for every citizen. And so media information literacy is absolutely critical from the individuals sitting at the end of their phone considering sending a meme or a message, getting them to ask critical questions that go to the veracity of this information. We hope that we can broaden the discussion beyond journalism and journalism education to a public discussion that recognizes that it is a crisis that affects us all and the responsibility to counter it is a shared responsibility.

>> MODERATOR: Okay. And what specifically are you saying to journalists? Why should they treat this as I a story and how should they treat this as a story?

>> JULIE POSETTI: Because despite what I have just said, particularly recent research from my colleagues at the Reuters Institute indicates that significant sections of the community misinterpret poor journalism or journalism that they interpret as biased as disinformation, and so journalists have a responsibility and a need, I would say, to double down on quality journalism and ethical journalism practice but also to highlight these issues for public conversation purposes, to shine a light on these issues, to do investigative journalism, like the Cambridge Analytica scandal being unearthed, for example, like Rapala in the Philippines did to join dots between disinformation campaigns and the harassment of their reporters. So to use the tools of journalism to ensure that the information that is being produced is able to be produced in a way that allows it to be recognized as reliable and credible and to ensure that rather than alienating communities and increasing polarization and the absence of trust in journalism, they actually through a process of collaboration work with communities to tackle the problem.

>> MODERATOR: Okay. So my last question is that we had Internet Governance Forum. To what extent do Internet governance decisions have to take into account the issues around this disinformation? For example, we see legal. We see laws being passed. We see some Internet companies taking actions. What is the relevance of disinformation to Internet governance?

>> JULIE POSETTI: I think the future of journalism is tied up inextricably with the future of the Internet. This goes to the question around the Internet indicators. It goes to questions around regulation. We need to pause and ask ourselves what is the potential cost of regulating platform X for the capacity to do and publish independent journalism more broadly, and what is the risk of these laws and regulations that we are creating blowing back on freedom of expression as it is demonstrated through the practice of journalism? I think while this crisis is very serious and the manifestations are extremely bad at the worst end of the spectrum, we need to ensure that while working to address an increasingly urgent crisis, we are not actually aggravating the problem by undermining the capacity to do independent journalism.

>> MODERATOR: Great. I think to sum up what you said, the Internet governance community do no harm to journalism when you are tackling fake news and disinformation. Do support journalism because it is key if we want an information environment on the Internet that is actually going to have something that is truthful and verifiable and in the public interest.

>> JULIE: Like a tweeted summary. Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Everyone, thank you very much for highlighting all these aspects. Yesterday we had very nice statements and very strong statements about disinformation and fake news. I think that it is our contribution, at least, in response to what was said yesterday. I think that we need to work further.

Before closing this session, thank you very much for coming, for joining us on this session. I want to thank my colleague who put all this open forum with all these wonderful speaker, wonderful panelists. I thank you very much for joining us, for coming, and please engage with us on these aspects. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.

 

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