>> MODERATOR: Good afternoon everyone, welcome, welcome. Please take your seats to we can again, thank you.
Okay, good afternoon everyone, we'll start. Thank you all for coming to another launch, a feature of the Internet governance forum, we launch our addition every year. This is the 10th anniversary of this Watch.
We started this Watch in 2017. So it's been 10 years. And this watch -- I am the executive director of the association for progressive and we coordinate this watch with many, many, many partners.
As I said we are an Internet organization, founded in 1990, and we are in many countries, 38 countries and 58 organizational members. And we're very, very happy to welcome you to this launch.
So a series of yearly publications covering the state of information society from the perspective of civil society.
2007 is when it begun. As you remember, for those of you who are as old or older than I am, the first was in 2006 and soon after the world summit agreement of information and all of that started in 2007. So it is that.
And I think it's a process as well as it is a monetary implementation of agreements. And are the contribution of the publication, we do assess annually and contribute to looking at challenges and being open, inclusive, democratic and information and sustainable information societies.
We also produce quite sound local knowledge. You'll see if you have actually seen our publications, is that we produce national reports and in many different countries. And we provide evidence and analysis around various issues. So we have different themes every year from women's rights to surveillance, to sustainable developable, to corruption.
So all different issues that are critical in the issues that they look at, human rights issues, as well as development issues.
In the last 10 years we've had 11 editions and so this is the Dream Team. We had 11 issues of the annual report. But at the same time, aside from that, we've had 14 special editions.
This year we have two other editions aside from the annual edition.
So what are we watching? We are watching many different issues, as I've said, alongside a series of country reports and access of information within a variety of national context.
And the other aspect of this watch is who is watching? I mean who writes this watch? Who actually contributes to it?
The watchers as we call them a community of authors from civil society, and I'm happy to say that we've had since 2007 I looked at the GISWatch website and I invite you to look at it. We had about 600 writers since 2007. Really, this really is a product of civil society perspective. It's not only APC, just one seconds, it is a collective analysis coming from civil society.
And across the last 10 years, we've had dramatic regional and national reports. And in the country reports we had 114 reports in the last 10 years on all different topics. I have here the different colors of this watch. If you're interested, you haven't seen it, please later on you can have a look at it.
That is really the richness of this watch. And I would, I guess, finally what I would like to do, also, is to thank our APC partners who provided support through the years.
And for this edition, I would like to thank our 70 authors, the IGFfor special companion and also (?) in Asia.
And I hand it over so we can look at the current edition.
>> PANELIST: Thank you. You have a copy of this issue. In this year, 2017 produced not only the annual edition with the 40 country reports and seven regional reports, but we also produced two special editions.
One, which is a companion volume of this annual edition of national and regional IGFs on their own words and Malik will speak about that a little bit later.
And also produced a special edition on low mapping, freedom of expression in Asian countries and we will explain to you what the special edition is about.
But what I would like to do next is just to provide some background and to share what our motivation was to produce this special edition, focusing on national and regional IGFs.
And I think there is agreement it is quite vital, the Internet governance system as a whole. Seeing the evolution of the initiatives, also, the reasons that it triggered the creation of the initiatives, and then to see how they are becoming space not only for political and policy-related deliberation, but also how they are contributing to other issues from different perspectives.
So the reports that we have here cover a variety of countries and issues. And you will see that each report is unique story. And it’s a reaching approach and style. They not only highlight the challenges that this initiatives have been facing along the years, but also, other specific issues around participation, around inclusion, around broadening the multi-stakeholder approach and also the progress related to advancing Internet public policies in the countries through inclusive and participating process.
Aside from challenges and evolution, they also look at how they engage with the regional and global dynamics.
While the schematic reports on the other hand, they look from different angles, they look at the role and the impact, and also the relationship with the global IGF and the way they address, for instance, gender issues and gender perspectives and the challenges ahead in terms of platforms for deliberation.
As I mention, we also produce a companion volume, organizers of national and regional IGFs will tell their story in their own words. And after I finish I will tell you a little bit about that.
What will you find in this edition in terms of content? So the authors, some of them are here, we are lucky to have some of the authors here. They were encouraged to write from their own experience of engaging with these initiatives and their use ever the national and regional initiatives.
You see the entry point that was more really than more their context. And as a result, we have a very regional analysis of different aspects, initiatives including the creations, how they have been growing, their achievements and also failures, and also the challenges moving forward.
So they look at the issues related to the financial, the political, the capacity-building, sustainability, what they provide to provide the national and regional stakeholders to engage in a meaningful way in intergovernmental processes.
And we believe this edition covers all of us, not only the APC and authors, but the IGF community to see what is needed ahead with changes, and also encourage the governance that is development and human rights. And what is needed, also, in terms of making the multi-stakeholder approach much more effect and applicable at the different levels. And to understand what national and regional Internet governance means. That is what you will find here in this edition. We are very excited to have been able to put it together. And also thanking the authors. We will hear from them now.
Now, I would like it Maude tells you how it compliments what we have done with the special edition.
>> PANELIST: Thank you very much. I will talk about the companion edition to the main volumes called Internet Governance from the Edges, not and regional initiatives in their own words. And I believe many people present here today actually contributed to it.
It has been highlighted it is no longer possible to look at the IGF without the evolution of Internet governance without also looking at NRIs who organize forms, which they also diligently report. Holding training specials, governance, workshops and so on.
And in addition to the collective analysis of the GISWatch main edition, we thought that we wanted, also, to gather testimonies directly. So presenting their origin stories, their achievements, their challenges and also perspectives on Internet governance.
When we started to put it together very few secondary reports, and (?) And of course a lot of experiences and exchanges through the ITF. And we thought like an early or (?)
And hence the questions of the questionnaire circulated amongst NRIs and gathered materials and not altering them, treating them a bit like primary sources which you can read in the volume.
We received 30 responses and quite evenly divided amongst different regions. Despite the specificity with the NRI I think some trends emerged I will comment on.
Founding and development, despite the initiatives and the spontaneity of the founding, first it didn't come out of nowhere. So they emerged from pre-existing initiatives, different bodies of Internet governance, which partially transformed. It is also important to acknowledge support of regional NRIs, which possibly explains as well the great number of NRIs we have today.
About internal governance, the second chapter of this survey, and recurrent two topics, first the firming of the NRIs. For the NRIs that are wrong on a voluntary basis and a particular governance, but it can also bring to takeover of the NRI by certain stakeholder groups and like the multi-stakeholder model is definitely not easy to implement, and that's possibly the second fickle team counter. Not all societies are perfectly divided in four equal stakeholder groups, and some countries it is impossible to set up an NRI without, for instance, governmental or performance of another group and the requirement can be difficult to meet.
And the last one is possibly the lack of substantial diversity among stakeholders, although they come from the four different stakeholder groups, which possibly also explains the similarity encountered across the globe of topics that are discussed.
And sometimes the similarity of perspectives and the lack of reported controversy. Questions that are otherwise controversial from technical matters, women's rights, LGBT rights, you name it, but that's rarely emerged.
And about the future, finally, I think there is incredible, well clearly potential for NRIs, especially since situated at the right levels, the national and regional one where legislation also happens. And allows contact between different stakeholder groups and non-state actors that can engage even with officials from their own country here.
Maybe NRIs, some already do it, but can really maintain the openness, inclusivity and activity of the forum at the different levels and ensure that the IGF is not only a one-year event, but that the Internet governance process continues at different levels and throughout the year, thank you.
>> PANELIST: Thank you, Maude. For this edition, the annual edition we were fortunate to have Marcus to introduce the other report, drawing on his experience as the director ever the working group on Internet Governance from 2004. And then leading the global IGF from 2006-2010. And we are fortunate to have Marcus with us to share his view and the national regional IGFs and their role that they have, the impact they might have on the agency, and ability to influence both national and regional Internet governance mechanisms. So Marcos, please, share your view with us.
>> PANELIST: Thank you and good afternoon. This is Marcus speaking for the transcript. It is a pleasure to have contributed to this publication. This is indeed a great initiative.
I am currently the chair of the Internet governance foreign support situation IGFSA, you pointed out between 2006 and 2010 I was the head of the IGF Secretariat and I saw the emergence of the NRIs report and not yet the acronym NRI, but national and regional initiatives.
And I gave the title to my introductory chapter, high impact outcome of an unintended consequence. We like talking about unintended consequences when it comes to Internet governance, in particular quite often warn politicians this may have unintended consequences if you do this or you do that.
In this case, it was a very positive unintended consequence.
The agenda does not mention the need to establish national or regional IGFs, they just emerged. There was felt a need in various levels at various countries, and again, it's important to have caution at the global level, but the real impact at the national level. And (?) I heard once saying good Internet governance begins at home, and I think this hits the nail on top.
At the not level, laws are being made, laws are being implemented, and you can also do much harm to the Internet by making the wrong laws and implementing them wrongly.
So again, this is a real success story. It was interesting to see when they emerged, it was sort of as I said, very spontaneous. But already in (?) It was a joint workshop to several initiatives to discuss how it can move forward. And then on the morning of the first day we had a session bringing them together on a panel. And there we established sort of the principle there is no one size fit all to the NRIs. All regions are different, all countries are different. And we followed that.
But also the clear understanding, in order to qualify, you have to follow the basic principles of the IGF itself and be open, inclusive and bottom-up. And the notes don't exclude any stakeholder group. Really a multi-stakeholder initiative.
By 2010 we had NRIs in all region. First the Pacific in Hong Kong in 2010.
At the meeting in (?) Again a joint session of the NRIs and already quite the big room. And it was interesting then there was two trends. Those who saw themselves as stand-alone initiatives who look at what is important for their countries, and it was clear that there were regional differences and different regional priorities. We noticed early on in Africa, for instance, access the number one property. But in Europe, people had maybe different priorities. Related to privacy, human rights, other human rights, and rule of law issues.
But in venues, there were those who thought the NRIs should be more like classical U.N., preparing for the global meeting. Whereas others thought no, they should be stand-alone and look at the priorities of their regions.
But over the years, in a way the two trends merged and there is a growing recognition that there needs to be linkages between the two. The NRIs need to influence what's happening at the global level in the IGF, and at the same time they need to take back the discussion from the global level and bring it back to the regional-international level.
As said, I wrote this chapter a little bit from the perspective, first from the Secretariat perspective, but then from the perspective of going to speak at NRIs when I worked for ISOP, and also on the board of ICANN. And also from the IGF support organization where supporting NRIs is one of our main objectives of the association.
And this year we gave support to 33, I think national and 10 regional initiatives with relatively small contributions up to $2,000 to national IGFs and 3.5 to regional. I am told by organizers it is helpful, seed funding that allowed them to make some publications.
And by working very closely with the IGF Secretariat, we don't validate whether a national or regional IGF fulfills the criteria. We simply ask the Secretariat whether they fulfill that area, and then we consider them for funding. So this has worked, I think, extremely well and also contribute to adherence of the NRIs. One is you have to produce a report of the last year's meeting. So if you want the money you have to produce the report. I can't help people who may otherwise have writer's blocks.
Let me conclude again with the impact and I think you already mentioned it, Malaria, as I see it, it is the promotion of the multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance.
And this sometimes in countries where there is no tradition at all of government consulting stakeholders, in western democrat -- democracies we have a long history of that. And they do have to listen to what they say. But it is essentially promoting democracy by promoting the multi-stakeholder approach.
Now there is again no single model for multi-stakeholder approach and I think it already came across that in come governments it can be extremely difficult, but it is also novel for some governments. And actually by attending these meetings it is anecdotal evidence.
And I remember there was a minister there and he told me this is the first time the Minister actually talks to us. And that was because the Minister thought it was important. It was a vague link to the U.N., however it is, for the national-regional IGF. Nevertheless it was seen as kind of a U.N. initiative and that's why the Minister came. He would not have come to a meeting of maybe a technical organization. And having this kind of dialogue, it was possible for the technical community to actually talk to the Minister.
And let me conclude with my favorite example. I was in Kenya quite often and Kenyans already have the 10th annual IGF. And one Kenyan friend told me actually that the top civil servant participated in this discussion, civil society lis decision. And I talked to him and said that is highly unusual, and I wouldn't see that happening in Europe for instance. He said yeah, it can be painful sometimes, but it helps us make better decisions. And I thought that's the very essence of the multi-stakeholder cooperation. The number one lesson learned. And with that, I hand it back to you, thank you.
>> Every national, regional -- sorry. It is interesting to see how far even if every national and regional IGF has its own dynamics respond to different priorities, they also share some common aspects.
And I think one of the most interesting aspects, as you pointed out that they share, is this interplay between the national, the regional and the global. Particularly in relation to the global and the United Nations IGF.
So we are lucky to have here presented the author of the automatic chapter that look at the relationship between the national, regional and IGFs and the global IGFs. So would like to invite you to please share a little bit of your analysis, analysis that you reflected in your chapter in relation to this dynamic between the national, regional and global.
>> PANELIST: Thank you very much. (?) Speaking so I looked at how the relationship between the U.N., IGF and national and regional IGF initiatives evolve over time. And looking at that, we see that it's quite reciprocal relationship in that they get legitimacy from the U.N. IGF by being, by applying and complying with the criteria of the United Nations IGF such as being open, multi-stakeholder and bottom-up. And the United Nations IGF by including these initiatives in its program.
And we saw that quite vividly in 2010 when the mandate of the U.N. IGF was going to be extended, so there were a lot of efforts to include these initiatives in IGF program in order to show that there is an actual local reach at IGF.
And we are trying to see how this relation evolve in the future, and how we can see that they both work together, thanks.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Next, as I mention, we have some of the authors here. And you heard Chad referring also the group of authors is made of academics, journalists and activists who bring their insights, us organizers or us participants of this national-regional IGFs.
And if the authors can identify themselves, great. I would like to invite all the authors here to just briefly say a few words, who you are, and what dock the report for this annual edition has meant to you. So we can go around and do a round of comments that is very useful. Let's start from this side.
>> Hi, Jessica Dehr, I am from Lebanon and wrote the regional report, along with my colleague on the Arab IGF.
And what it meant for me was a lot of lost weekends this fall, to be honest. [Laughter]
But also, it was really important for me to write this report, because it actually came out of a (?) Session and for what they did on multi-stakeholderism where I posed a question about their IGF and it sort of mushroomed into the report that I wrote.
And, you know, it gave me and my organization, I think, a much stronger footing in what our opinion of the IGF is and how it might move forward. Thanks.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Jessica. Other authors? Michelle, you want to go next?
>> I work for Alternative, a group in Montreal and work the Canadian part of the Canadian chapter.
Basically to say while looking at the IGF in Canada was not very easy since there's no proper IGF in Canada as we speak. There's another process, but still not exactly an IGF, so we work on that, asking why is not Canada that much more engaged into Internet governance.
And also, we reflect on the fact that there were policies, like universal access policies. But at the end of the day the policies were not reflecting the real connectivity of people in Canada, especially in indigenous communities. Where they were still left behind. I'll stop there.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Julian.
>> Thank you. This is Julian (?) Speaking. My colleague, did the report for the Columbian IGF situation. And you look at the situation and how the initiative, it's working on different issues to include the use of Internet into the process, peace process in Colombia.
Also, you will see the history of the setting up of the initiative, as well as the discussions that has been taking place in this space for the last four years. And reflections, also, about the relationship with the regional Latino-American IGF and some action steps from our initiative.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Leah do you want to go next?
>> I am from Panama and I wrote the paper with my colleague. And the work was very important because the IGF is the (?) We didn't have our process in March of this year. And since March in Panama there is a lot of change, challenge in the Internet governance area.
And also we have the Latin American, Caribbean IGF event. We did our first IGF in Panama City with more than 200 people from different multi-stakeholder sources, so it was a good experience. And just for the Internet experience in Panama, thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Yolanda, you want to go next?
>> Hello I am Yolanda from emerging leaders in Internet governance and wrote the report on South Africa. One thing that came out, South Africa had a couple of local IGFs, however if there is no trust in the system, or sorry, in the process, many people felt there was no point for it.
One of things that the report covers is that a fully-functional Secretariat really re-enforces the trust in the platform. If there is no Secretariat or no effort to engage stakeholders people don't want to participate and that was the biggest learning from the report.
>> MODERATOR: Yolanda. We have Carlos (?) Do you want to -- no? [Laughing]
>> Hello, I am from Bangladesh and work with BIPS.
The issue about this (?) report I appreciate it and I am proud of it, but I considered this report of the IGF internationally. And my recommendation is what next?
To my recommendation is to go for the -- to identify the mission and recommendations. And the way the recommendations are a reflection of the region and the IGF. And maybe we can do this, but I don't know. But this is important as part of the process, thank you.
>> Thank you. I am Jordan Carter. And I was one of the co-authors are the New Zealand IGF called (?) And I wanted to mention two or three points that might be of interest.
One, we learned about IGFs through the global one and the presentation format in large panels and build our IGF in a completely different ways. There are two facilitators to spark a discussion and the rest of each our session is conversation and sharing of perspectives. We banned PowerPoints and presentations. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. It requires good facilitation and a good spark to start the session, but it leads to a different feel from the event.
And the topic collection is through an EOI process. Often get 80 or 90 suggestions for about 20 sessions and I think it is not an uncommon experience.
The third point, also the (?) Funds manager and fund about 2/3 of the costs. Provide enough money so there can be a low ticket fee, luncheon required, and streaming of all of the sessions. I think if you have a good collaborations with some resources it is a good way, relatively independent way to fund the national IGF. Thanks.
>> thank you. Yes, this is a collaborative chapter written with my colleagues (?) Part of a broader research product on mapping, different dimensions ever IGF initiatives in Latin American and Caribbean region.
We have discussed with APC how we collaborate so we have greater synergies between projects and continuing this in 2018.
And the opportunity that GISWatch provided to us, we started our research a month before we wrote this report, so it was really -- it forced us to sort of really start heavily with the research.
But also, to realize the importance and the difficulties of addressing common traits in a particular region. I mean country specificities, but regional specificities in a constant dialogue.
And we, also, identifying even though at this stage we wrote to chapter we were at appear initial phase of the research, there are common traits we are already beginning to see and at this stage are more able to confirm. And I find that this is also very interesting and it has a deep meaning with how this national, regional and global processes that the chapter address sincerely all very much interconnected. So I am looking forward to continuing with the research and sharing the results in May next year.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. You want to say something?
>> Yes. I wrote to the team in Italy, we have a team of five people that collaborate for the writing of this report, so we wrote the report about the IGF was challenging because the IGF has a lot of problems. It is not well established, totally not funded. And still struggling for having its way for the future.
And I think the exercise could be interesting, especially if we bring back this view that is supposed to be distant view let's say, even if it is even to get distant from things which you are involved, but a tool for reflecting the way to work. I think if we are able to use this wisdom that has been collected in this book as a platform to discuss and reflect which are the weakness that can be, and how to deal with this weakness.
Because if you look around, I have not got time to go through all the reports, but I see that most of the problems are common. And also solution can be common. And I think exchanging would be very beneficial for everybody, thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Okay, any or author present in the room? Yes, please.
>> Yes, Walid (?) I tend to be last because my name is W and the last chapter in alphabetical order. Maybe it is good, the last sad chapter since the situation is not permissive for IGF.
I simply reflected on the efforts that have been taken so far to begin the process, and that has been stalled by the war that is still raging. Remarkably enough, I still resemble some hope in some ongoing efforts by the Internet society in Yemen, and there are still behind closed doors and still planning for an IGF. Hopefully when the situation resolves it will come to life. It is a reflection how important it is to look into the Internet in general in a situation of conflict, and why discussing aspects of Internet in conflict is important. Even without an IGF itself, referring to the Internet as a service and discussing it. And by meetings, having Skype conversations with people on the ground is useful.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. That is a very powerful way of closing the authors and explaining they operate in different context and some are very advanced with the multi-stakeholder approach and dealing with the Internet issues from a public interest perspective. Thank you for reminding us of that.
As I mentioned, we also produce special edition looking at laws that are criminalizing expression in Asia, and my colleague, Debra, will present that edition to you so you can share what it is about.
>> PANELIST: Thank you very much. In this special --
>> MODERATOR: I didn't see you, sorry. Please, Grace.
>> I am Grace (?) I and my colleague, Victor, the (?) Chapter and one of the things I have to say that happened is that this chapter coincided with our 10-year celebration, so we have very happy that we were able to document some of our expenses and some of the changes taking place.
One of which is that the IGF has continued to be a platform for new voices and for new people to come, new supporters to also come and see how different stakeholders engage in issue use of Internet governance.
Secondly, the IGF has continued to allow different stakeholders to participate. And because that has been the culture of the IGF, it has allowed topics that are sensitive to be discussed in that platform.
For example, this year we had an election that was the first time we were using technology. You know, we were deploying technology. Because of the nature of the IGF, we were able to bring stakeholders from the electric information, from the civil society, from the technical people to actually discuss key issues as they were espoused by deficit since. There was a distinct opinion, and once people left there, they felt they were listened to. So we are very grateful that our process is part of the history of national IGFs.
>> Before I hand it over --
>> Yes, thank you. I have only one comment. My name is (?) From United Nations commission for Africa.
In the report, in the report I didn't see anything from Africa without the separation -- South Africa and also national experience in Africa.
Just to remind you, Africa has done lot of implementing IGF process. We start in 2011 by organizing this national situational African forum, and 2011, organizing this event to bring onboard all stakeholder government, private sector and civil society and academia.
And (?) -- to have the IGF and now they are five ongoing sub-regional IGF international governance forum and they organize every year. Organizing before to come back to African IGF forum. We have a Secretariat, and African union.
And my recommendation is that next time it will be better to contact African union to provide input in the report. And also, the majority of African countries are (?) IGF I don't know exactly as a member around 40 or 45. The country of the national IGF, thank you.
>> So the special edition has eight testimonies from African countries, no regional IGF, but only national IGF. And they asked for a team national IGFs also listed in the directory at the end of the volume. But yeah, thank you very much.
>> Just to comment that obviously even though we managed to develop like seven regional reports, that does not prevent us to keep, you know, completing the exercise of analyzing and reviewing these initiatives. And we will definitely contact you to be able to include those in the regional version as blogs or compliment story, the ongoing exercise of keep analyzing the different with GISWatch, thank you for that.
Debra Brown, our lead on global policy, will talk about the special edition in Asia.
>> PANELIST: Thank you very much. And I want to mention at the outset my colleague who coordinates the work in Asia was supposed to come and speak and she was unable to make it. I am presenting it on her behalf and we have some authors in the room who can complement this.
And the expression in six counties, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Asia --
And we are studying freedom of expression online in Asia and we notice in order to under how to better counteract the restrictions we understand the basis, the law and how the law is applied.
We found in these countries a few trends which that expression is being criminalized online for reasons of religion, sexual expression, gender identity, political opinion and dissent and even factual statements.
As a results individuals are prosecuted under blasphemy, sexual deviation and other criminal situation.
And the laws vary from country to country and we identify the countries because they have similar legal backgrounds but wanted a mix at the countries represented. The different types of provisions include public order, national security, decency and religion-based exempts, and to cut down on forms like dissent.
And seeing the non-state actors that often act with content of support of the state have created attacks or even killed different people based on what they have said online. As a result, there is also a chilling effect on freedom of expression in these countries.
We really felt that in order -- we wanted to publish this publication to help understand, and also to help create a tool and resource for civil society, experts and lawyers to better understand and to counter these laws in these different countries and to create a bigger conversation around how to either legislate or reform laws in the region.
Finally, I wanted to recognize the generous support of our donors for this publication the Internet policy observatory and European instrument for democracy and human rights.
I understand in the room we have two of the authors. I will first ask Jessica next to tell us a little bit about the methodology we use for this publication.
>> Thanks, Debra. So I wrote the chapter in the publication about the methodology. Over the last several years we have been developing a methodology for identifying legislation in the Arab region that affects digital rights. And over the course of the last year we have been refining that methodology in a couple of ways. One, to develop working definition of digital rights, which actually don't really exist. And then, also, to identify different opportunities or openings where someone might look for laws that impact digital rights.
So we developed a five-category schematic or such as laws, people Constitutions, and other laws that affect or invoke fundamental freedom such as press laws. Laws developed to govern online spaces such as anti-cybercrime laws or sectoral laws like banking and for some counties tax legislation or other countries for drug laws, all of which have been used to prosecute expression and to violate digital rights in other ways.
So we have created this methodology and shared it with APC, they adopted it for their needs looking at criminalization for expression online. And it's in the report.
>> MODERATOR: We're lucky to have one of the authors here, one of the chapter authors here. Thanks.
>> We're very happy to be a part of this report. So with the rise in Internet usage and penetration in the countries, also caught this trend of freedom of expression. 2017 more than 100 cases where people are charged with exercising freedom of expression, more than half of the cases are cases involving political. Just trying to oppress the normal citizens at well and 98% pressed charges for defamation charges. And happy we can enlighten this on this report.
And the laws in the country together with other countries in Asia has given an insight to us on the potential laws and also trends that could help to us. Not for now, but if in the future. For example, we shared similar Penal Code with Pakistan, and the freedom of expression around obscenity and blasphemy can become a trend for the country as well.
>> My name is (?) From the German foundation and I wanted to pick up your point about rights and definition of digital rights.
I've been working as a member of a group at the Council of Europe for the last 12 month and we have been discussing that as well. And the recommendation was be that, for example, freedom of expression, it's not a digital right, it's just a human right that has gained additional weight and additional relevance with regard to the digital environment. So I recommend not to talk about digital rights and look for new definition of digital rights.
What we need is a translation of human rights into the digital environment. Thank you.
>> A quick response to that. In the methodology we frame clearly digital rights are human rights and we do repeat that.
And we talk about physically-constructed spaces and virtually-constructed faces and how they have various aspects of human rights.
That being said, to have, how do I say it, digital rights has become such a common terminology we decided to go ahead and continue using it. Because so many organizations who are working specifically on these issues, it has become shorthand.
And the other thing, we talk about digitally-networked spaces and not just the Internet.
>> I agree. But "digital rights" are just other rights that we have already in the non-digital world and that's not true. So it needs to have an integrated approach, I think.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you for that intervention. And can I invite you to continue this conversation, which is really fascinated. Thank you, Debra. The special edition will be available online, is available online in the APC.org website. You can download not only the annual edition, the companion, but the special edition in Asia. And we have printed copies here for everyone. Please feel free to take one with you.
I also want to announce finally, just to close the session, that next year GISWatch is going to focus on local access solutions and community networks. So I am sure we'll incite interest and please see the invitation to contribute.
Thank you everyone for attending the launch of GISWatch and ask you to keep contributing to the process, relevant for us in terms of monetary progress and the evolution of an inclusive democratic society.
And also to distribute the online version, which is available in the website. So thank you everyone for coming. And I'll see you next year to launch the edition of local access solutions and connectivity networks, so thank you.
>> And also, if anyone is interested in previous copies of GISWatch, you can pick them up here. These are all the previous editions.
[Session concluded at 14:37 a.m. CT]