The open Internet enables people from different countries and different cultures, who speak different languages and have different stories to tell, who have different perspectives, understandings and ambitions, to share the content that they create with the global network. Local content development is important and should be encouraged; the social, cultural and economic opportunities available to us are greater if we can search the world’s diversity in creative thought online, as opposed to if we all consume the same content.
This Best Practice Forum session will focus on how to create an enabling environment for the development of local content. It is the culmination of a two-month online discussion in which a diverse group of stakeholders contributed on-the-ground stories and exchanged views about policies that directly and indirectly encourage the development of local content. The issue is multifaceted and complex, with many different moving parts. To give orientation to the discussion, a three-part framing of the issue emerged, where contributors were asked to share best practices under the following areas:
Internet Infrastructure - The state of the Internet service provision industry, including the presence of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), data centres, and the status of international and domestic capacity, etc.
Legislative and regulatory landscape - The effect of legislation and policy in the fields of copyright, cultural preservation, telecommunications, etc.
Human capabilities and capacities - The degree of digital literacy in the locale, of web accessibility, and the presence of innovation hubs, etc.
It is considered that the policy initiatives that are designed to encourage local content development will be most successful when they are coordinated across these three areas.
After several weeks of robust discussion among listserv participants, it became apparent that while there are a number of policies that indirectly contribute to the development of local content — for example a policy requiring all government data to be stored in-country will support the development of local hosting, which in turn will decrease latency and make it easier for people to up and download content — there are not many examples of policies which directly facilitate the development of local content. This session, the success of which will depend on active audience participation, will focus on sharing ideas about these unidentified, and yet-to-be-created, policies.
The session will be moderated by the two Lead Experts who have led the local content discussion over the past two months, with short presentations provided by a handful of discussion participants. Interactivity with the audience is paramount, and all stakeholders are graciously encouraged to attend.
Creating an enabling environment for the development of local content
Lead Expert Moderators
Susan Chalmers, Principal, Chalmers & Associates
Stuart Hamilton, Deputy Secretary General, International Federation of Library Associations
Lead Drafting Consultant
John Laprise, Internet Strategist and Consulting Scholar
Panel Participants confirmed as of 20 August
Sylvain Baya Aboka, Co-founder and Coordinator of the Cameroonian Network Operator’s Group and Board Member, ISOC Cameroon Chapter
Glenn Deen, Director of Networking and Distribution Technology, NBCUniversal
Michael Kende, Chief Economist, Internet Society
Martha Giraldo, ICT for Development Specialist, IFLA-International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
Remote moderator: Aaron Van Klyton
A draft outcome document on best practices for creating an enabling environment for the development of local content is available here and comments are sought by September 5. The session discussion will inform the final draft of the outcome document.