The multistakeholder approach to internet governance is “widely accepted as the optimal way to make policy decisions for a globally distributed network” (Internet Society). Multistakeholder decision-making is an essential component to achieving inclusive sustainable development because because as we have discussed throughout the semester, international cooperation is a key factor in solving the “Grand Challenge” of inclusive sustainable development. Multistakeholder Internet Governance allows for inclusiveness and transparency, effective decision-making and implementation, and collaboration (Internet Society).
The 13th annual Internet Governance Forum was hosted by the Government of France in Paris at the headquarters of UNESCO from November 12 to 14 of 2018. The Internet Governance Forum aims to bring together a variety of stakeholder groups annually to discuss public policy issues regarding the Internet. Some of the key issues confronting the 13th annual IGF were gender and access, cyber security, and artificial intelligence. The Internet Governance Forum is a prime example of how important multistakeholder internet governance is, as it is a forum for a variety of stakeholders to come together and discuss best practices and a way forward in today’s digital world.
The session I tuned into from this year’s IGF was titled “Hack the Hate: Empower Society to Face Hate Speech.” I was intrigued by the title and found that it was especially important that this topic be discussed in today’s day and age. Increasingly, we are hearing stories of people using the internet- social media specifically- to spread messages of hate. While the advancements made regarding the Internet have opened the doors for many positive developments, there are undoubtedly consequences of it as well. This is why I was drawn to the IGF session addressing hate speech.
The session began with a discussion of the rise of hate crime statistics and the plummeting of the global peace index indicator that addresses the acceptance of the rights of others. The conversation revolved around what collaborative efforts are needed to mobilize civil society to ‘compete’ with those on the internet who are trying to spread hate, as well as education and and the longer term challenge of eradicating this issue. The theme and contents of this session are an example of why both the Internet Governance Form and multistakeholder internet governance are important- they allow for a variety of actors to come together and discuss how to solve the most pressing issues regarding the internet and our world today.
Internet Society. (n.d.). Internet Governance – Why the Multistakeholder Approach Works. Retrieved from https://www.internetsociety.org/resources/doc/2016/internet-governance-why-the-multistakeholder-approach-works/