IGF 2019 WS #140 Internet governance for online tobacco control

Organizer 1: Pavel Antonov, Bluelink.net
Organizer 2: Caroline Renzulli, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Organizer 3: Carlos Alberto Afonso, Instituto Nupef
Organizer 4: Andrew Black, World Health Organisation FCTC Secretariat

Speaker 1: Valentina Scialpi, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Carlos Alberto Afonso, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Thea Emmerling, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Caroline Renzulli, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Todor Yalamov, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 6: Andrew Black, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 7: Monique Muggli, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

How does Internet Governance relate to FCTC/EU/national law provisions regarding tobacco advertising and promotion online and across borders?
How could intermediary liability of other internet governance principles apply to prevent tobacco companies from manipulating social media channels and using influencers to advertise tobacco products across borders?
What policy steps could be taken to safeguard the health and well being of internet users from vulnerable groups, including young women, children and developing world citizens from illegal online tobacco promotion and advertising?

Relevance to Theme: Please explain how the proposed session will contribute to the narrative of the selected theme.
The workshop's theme directly contributes to the digital Inclusion track by setting the ground for a a framework for assessing and considering the various elements and policies which can harmonize access with good health and wellbeing, guaranteed by the provisions of FCTC/EU/national law on online/transborder tobacco control advertising and promotion. The session deals with the intersection between digital Inclusion of underserved communities, marginalized groups, minorities, people with disabilities and people lacking digital literacy, and compliance with policies regulating a vertical issue such as health and well being. The workshop facilitates Inclusion also by bringing almost everyone to the discussion table - civil society, regulators, IT companies, and ensuring everyone’s voice is heard and treated equally in the decision-making processes (except for the tobacco industry, as this is prohibited by the rules of the UN’s WHO). While digital inclusion contributes to a stronger economy and enhanced economic development through shared wealth, the internet should not be abused as a loophole in other existing regulation and for completely the opposite purposes by tobacco industry.
The workshop will also address ThemeThree Security, Safety, Stability and Resilience. Outcomes from a two year investigation into tactics used by tobacco companies to advertise cigarettes and tobacco products on social media in approximately 40 countries will be presented. While the research will cover three main marketing strategies employed by tobacco companies, it will focus on the use of social media influencers and the global implications of this strategy as it relates to cross-border advertising, advertising standards and tobacco control policies.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Regulating tobacco advertising and promotions online and in trans-border contest is a vertical issue of Internet governance related to human health and wellbeing. It applies to the development and application of regulations by Governments and international entities such as the EU and the WHO, but involves the private sector - since intermediaries such as internet providers and social networking platforms are abused by tobacco industry for circumventing legislation, and civil society. The workshop will examine their respective roles, internal or shared principles, their adherence to norms and rules. It will probe into internet governance decision-making procedures to improve the use of the Internet in line with SDGs, applicable law and good governance principles.


Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Description: Please provide an outline for the session, including a description of the intended agenda for the session, and the issues that will be discussed. You may also explain how the methodology will support practical outcomes, substantive policy discussions, and how discussion will be facilitated during the session

Please provide the session's expected outcomes.
As a follow up of a IGF 2017 session on AI and Inclusion there is a need to identify, understand, and address new issues, from a more interdisciplinary and global perspective when it comes to the future of labour and transparent and inclusive design of new technologies. This workshop will explore one such a new issue: the potential of integrating internet governance principles with a vertical issue related to SDG 3 - healthy life and well being - in the specific field of tobacco control. WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and EU Directives and national laws world-wide limit tobacco promotion and advertising online and across borders. This workshop will explore the cross-section of these provisions and IG policies related to General Assembly resolution 70/125 commitments to close the digital divides between and within countries, including the gender digital divide, through efforts to improve connectivity, affordability, access to online services, education, information and knowledge, multilingual content, digital skills and digital literacy.

The issue in focus affects EU member states, the USA, but the developing world is affected even harder due to weak enforcement of national and international regulations on the use of the internet, communication technologies and services. The session responds to a growing need for a diverse cross-sectoral perspective regarding tobacco control policy issues online.
Tobacco companies are increasingly and secretly using social media to advertise cigarettes to a global audience of young people.

Workshop outline:


1. WHO FCTC requirements of prohibiting tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship under Article 13 of the treaty and its application to internet governance - Mr Andrew Black, WHO FCTC Secretariat
2. EU law provisions limiting online and crossborder / online advertising and promotion of tobacco - Ms Thea Emmerling, Head of Unit, DG Health, European Commission
3. Snapshot of tobacco advertising online and across borders - evidence collected as part of a two year investigation, reflecting actual posts from social media platforms, interviews with influencers paid to advertise cigarettes on social media and an assessment of the global scope of this marketing tactic. Developing countries Uruguay, Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines are covered among others. - Ms Caroline Renzulli, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
4. Legal complaints in Brazil, UK and the USA - Ms Monique Muggli, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Panel reflections - Applying internet governance principles and responding to policy questions raised
- Mr Carlos Alfonso, Executive Director, Nupef Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
- MsValentina Scialpi, Policy and project officer Next-Generation Internet, DG CONNECT-European Commission; and
- Mr Todor Yalamov, Senior Internet Policy Expert, BlueLink/Sofia University.

Moderated discussion - including online - and conclusions - Mr Pavel Antonov, Executive Editor, BlueLink Foundation.

Expected Outcomes: This session will:
- reviews regulatory issues at stake;
- identify policy harmonisation opportunities;
- address the civil society concerns regarding the potential for circumventing tobacco control health and well-being related regulations in a digital economy; and
- draw a roadmap for further action.

Onsite Moderator: 

Pavel Antonov, Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Online Moderator: 

Todor Yalamov, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Todor Yalamov, Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Discussion Facilitation: 

The workshop’s design is based on active participation of various key stakeholders from two separate policy streams: internet governance and tobacco control. On the former’s side participants include: Andrew Black of the WHO’s FCTC Secretariat; the Head of Unit at EU’s DG Health of the European Commission Ms Thea Emmerling; and the global Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids represented by International Communications Director Ms Caroline Renzulli
and Associate Legal Director Ms Monique Muggli. Internet governance will be anchored by IGF MAG members Mr Carlos Alfonso, Executive Director, Nupef Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, representing a strong developing world perspective, Ms Valentina Scialpi, Policy and project officer Next-Generation Internet, DG, and BlueLink’s senior internet policy expert Todor Yalamov, Associate Professor at the Sofia University. The workshop’s convener Dr Pavel Antonov, Executive Editor of the BlueLink Civic Action E-network is an experienced civil society e-networker, journalist and researcher of both internet governance and tobacco control. His task as the workshop’s moderator will be to engage them in creative exchange and cross-disciplinary reflections.

The workshop is a first step of bridging the policy fields of internet governance to tobacco control - a novel concept which broadens the debate to new groups of stakeholders from all around the world. The convening team will actively promote it to potential participants outside of the scope of invited speakers.

Online Participation: 

BlueLink, as Bulgarian member of APC, will promote workshop participation along its broad network of civil society and media partners. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids will also promote it along its global advocacy network of over 40 members.

Proposed Additional Tools: BlueLink will netcast the workshop live through its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bluelink.net/. Other channels for direct participation will be explored by November.


GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals