IGF 2019 WS #244 Inclusion & Representation: Enabling Local Content growth

Organizer 1: Bertrand Mouillier, International Federation of Film Producers Association [FIAPF]
Organizer 2: Sigrun Neisen, Deutsche Welle Akademie
Organizer 3: Schwarz Mathias, Producentenallianz
Organizer 4: LANTERI Paolo, World Intellectual Property Organization
Organizer 5: Victor Owade, WIPO

Speaker 1: Alex Eyengho, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 2: Sarika Lakhani, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Sigrun Neisen, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Forrest Stuart, Private Sector, African Group

Policy Question(s): 

This workshop will examine how locally relevant content can be best supported through a wide array of various creative programmes, initiatives, and incentives. Additionally, the workshop will look at how locally relevant content can facilitate Internet adoption and digital inclusion by creating meaningful online spaces for communities. Local content often thrives in enabling environments that have the appropriate policy measures and services. This workshop will explore the following questions:
• What type of policy environment is needed to support locally relevant content?
• What are examples of successful programmes and initiatives that have supported a local content ecosystem?
• What are the barriers to supporting local content?
• How can supporting local content help drive Internet connectivity and adoption?
• How can developing countries successfully establish flourishing local content ecosystems? Additionally, how can developing countries ensure that those local content ecosystems are sustainable?

Relevance to Theme: Fostering digital inclusion requires considering how locally relevant content can help develop the demand side of Internet adoption. As the IGF’s Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion - Phase II (CENB II) highlights, meaningful access to the Internet requires ensuring that people can both consume and produce content, and that “access inequalities and barriers like content availability not only affect those in developing countries more profoundly, but also those in rural areas as well as cultural minorities, women, refugees, and disadvantaged groups.”

The availability of local content helps increase the willingness of people to seek out the online space and creates more meaningful online access. If we want to build an Internet that is more inclusive, we need to ensure that the content that is available is relevant to all consumers from all countries. As the IGF Best Practice Forum on Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in 2015 and 2016 highlights, there is a two-way relation between local content and the growth and development of IXPs and the local Internet Infrastructure, which ultimately contributes to a higher quality and more affordable local Internet. We cannot discuss digital inclusion and Internet growth without also discussing local content.

Relevance to Internet Governance: One of the goals of effective Internet governance is to help ensure that the Internet flourishes and has value to those who use it. The production and the dissemination of local content is tied to the development of the Internet. Frequently, when discussing Internet governance, the topics of access and cost arise. However, access and cost are only two of three factors affecting Internet growth – the third one is the availability of locally relevant content and services. Having content that is in a language that is understood by the local population and deals with matters of local interest can help lead to Internet growth, especially in developing countries. Content that is both relevant and appealing is what drives new Internet uptake by individuals and communities alike. Consequently, there is a strategic imperative for Internet governance that favours the emergence and development of cultural and linguistic diversity.

Format: 

Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Description: The goal of our panel on local content is to demonstrate through examples of local and global best practice how local content can be supported through a wide array of creative programmes and economic incentives. There are numerous examples of policies, projects, and initiatives from all parts of the world that demonstrate how governments and stakeholder programmes can help bring about an enabling environment for the development of a sustainable local content sector, including both commercial and public service offerings. Our panel speakers will highlight how they are contributing to the local content ecosystems in their respective countries/regions. They will also share their insights and suggestions as to the forms of Internet regulation which would best deliver a diverse, affordable, and sustainable availability of local content.

Local content is best promoted in enabling environments that have the appropriate policy measures and services. An enabling environment that facilitates, encourages and stimulates the development of locally relevant online content and services depends on different factors. These factors include the ability to monetize local content and services where appropriate, and related issues such as the digital literacy and skills of locals, IP and copyright, and payment systems, and the infrastructure for Internet access and local content distribution, which include the availability of broadband, local hosting and Internet exchange points.

We have been able to attract speakers from different regions and stakeholder groups to discuss why they believe local content is important and how they have creatively supported it through their professional or voluntary work. Additionally, we want to demonstrate that measures to support local content need not be restrictive ones – there are ways to implement policies that incentivize the production of quality content and support the growth of the local creative infrastructure. This includes discovering and nurturing local talent, promoting skills capabilities, developing local stories (or locally relevant educational content) and using local locations. In particular, the panelists will be encouraged to discuss the ways in which a “virtuous cycle” related to local content can be engineered, i.e., increasing locally relevant content of a good quality standard in turn leads to increased investment in the local creative economy as a whole, which also drives investment in the Internet delivery infrastructure and improves its reliability.

The workshop will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about various creative programmes and policies that support the local creative economy, through the accounts of speakers with considerable local experience of developing sustainable content production and distribution systems. Discussion during the panel will be facilitated by a moderator who will ensure that all speakers are able to speak about their diverse experiences and give specific recommendations that the audience can learn from. There will be a 30-minute Q&A session following the hour-long panel.

During IGF (possibly on the same evening of the day in which the workshop is to be held), the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) will hold a reception and film event showcasing a local work from the country of one of the speakers on the panel. Last year at IGF 2018, to highlight importance of local content, FIAPF held an event that showcased the Nigerian film, Kasala. Its director, Ms. Ema Edosio presented the film and talked about her experience in developing the original screenplay and creating a film that authentically reflects the experience of many urban youth in Lagos, Nigeria’s teeming capital. Over 150 IGF attendees, including about 40 IGF Youth, attended the film event and reception.

Given the success of the IGF 2018 film event, for IGF 2019, FIAPF is planning to hold a similar event and to showcase another film from a developing country where local content has been on the rise and is facing structural challenges to achieve long term sustainability. The discussion at the panel will prepare attendees for the film presentation by highlighting both the importance of locally relevant content and the obstacles (economic, legal, regulatory, infrastructural, etc.) that must be overcome in order to secure its ongoing growth.

Expected Outcomes: The outcome of the this panel will be that attendees will learn from a wide range of stakeholders on why local content is important and will gain valuable insights on how it can be economically and creatively bolstered through well-conceived policies and projects.

Another outcome of the session is that other governments, especially those who are interested in learning how to support both local content and Internet growth in their countries, can learn from the experiences of the Singaporean government’s training and content investment boot camp as well as the Chilean agency for the local film sector’s growth and development.
Of particular relevance to this strand of outcome will be the question of how to devise an enabling regulatory/incentive apparatus that makes it easier for local content producers and platforms to attain economic sustainability in the face of global competition for Internet users’ attention and use.

Onsite Moderator: 

Victor Owade, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group

Online Moderator: 

Bertrand Mouillier, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Rapporteur: 

Schwarz Mathias, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

The moderator will work with the co-organizers and speakers before the IGF to ensure that discussion points, questions, flow, and timing are established. Speakers will be directed to focus on no more than three key points to ensure that the 90-minute time limit is respected and that there is ample time for Q&A.

The moderator will allocate 30 minutes of Q&A for the audience to participate and ask the panelists any questions. To help ease interaction and maintain a flow of dialogue, before the panel, a few on-site discussants will be prepared to ask questions that can help initiate participant discussion and kindle further audience engagement. Additionally, a short trailer of the film from the director on the panel, which will be shown at IGF 2019 at a separate event, will be shown to the audience.

The moderator will also encourage remote participants to engage in the dialogue and ask questions – this will be facilitated through a pre-engagement outreach phase to participants, especially those from emerging economics. During the panel, online questions will be managed by the online moderator and questions from the both the online queue and in-person queue will be rotated. The online moderator will be encouraged to participate in pre-IGF training sessions to ensure that online participants are effectively engaged during the panel.

Online Participation: 

We are planning to advertise the workshop broadly across the wide of stakeholders with whom each of our organisations (as co-organisers) are networked, from private sector content producers and platforms, to government regulators and civil society colleagues. Deutsche Welle Akademie (DWA) and FIAPF have extensive international networks of complementary nature and the Produzentenallianz will reach to the German audiovisual content community in Germany and internationally to spread awareness about the panel and its remote participation option.

We will also use this tool to complement the perspectives of our panel speakers with one (or more) remote contributions, e.g. a case study of local content conceived/produced/streamed by young people.

Proposed Additional Tools: We are planning to run short audio and/or video excerpts/trailers of a range of culturally-relevant local content to attendees, in order to make the object of our discussions more tangible to participants.

SDGs: 

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities