Open Net welcomes NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement, a participatory and democratic way of internet governance

by | Apr 28, 2014 | Press Release | 0 comments

Please read the Korean original here.

A participatory and democratic way of Internet governance has been established

-We welcome the São Paulo Multistakeholder Statement-

On April 23-24, São Paulo, Brazil held an international conference known as NETmundial (meaning Network Era), to discuss the principle and future of Internet governance.

This conference received attention because stakeholders of the government, civil society, corporations, technical community and academia were equally involved while deciding the contents of the meeting. During the preliminary feedback submissions, over a 180 contributions were received, over 1370 online feedback was added to the draft document while the discussion continued. During the two days the conference, each stakeholder contributed additional opinions. On the last day of the conference the various stakeholders established the ‘NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement of São Paulo.’ Such consensus of various stakeholders is unprecedented.


First international statement agreed by various stakeholders

Multistakeholder, another official title of the conference, is a model where the government, civil society, corporations, technical and academic community, and the private sector equally and democratically participate when making decisions on the Internet public policy. The Statement of São Paulo is the first statement created by equal and transparent discussion of various stakeholders, unlike the previous international statements that are either agreements of the governments or civil society’s declaration.

Aiming to please all stakeholders, the Statement is inevitably somewhat disappointing in the civil society’s point of view. Explicit rules for net neutrality became a topic to be discussed in the future, and clauses on human rights such as the freedom of expression or right to privacy could not be further stressed upon past the existing Declaration of Human Rights. During the UN speech, the President of Brazil criticized America’s mass surveillance, which gave the opportunity for the conference to open. Similar to mass surveillance, stopping communications surveillance was also a major suggestion, but the final statement reflects only a limitation to it.

Despite the drawbacks, this Statement was a successful experiment in terms of future decisions on international Internet public policy to be more transparent and democratic, and can be a foundation for various participants to work in agreement. Lacking aspects revealed during the conference can be improved and further shaped through the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and future Internet governance discussions.


Korean government also admits the need for a joint discussion group for various stakeholders

The multistakeholder approach used in this conference is important not only in international level, but also in the national level. Especially in the case of Brazil, having a national Internet policy organization (CGI.BR) that follows the multistakeholder model played an important role in opening the conference.

The Korean government also expressed support on their submission for the multistakeholder model. We welcome government’s understanding of the need for ‘multistakeholder Internet policy instrument’ and suggest the start of discussion for such policy instrument similar to CGI.BR.


A Thanks to Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden’s exposure on many governments’ violation of human rights through mass surveillance ignited the fury of Internet users all around the world. The anger of these users allowed the Brazilian government to use its leadership to open the NETmundial conference. Snowden reminded us that the activities of the ordinary Internet users – their life, love, work, and dedication – is the source of worldwide, trustworthy, open, and elastic Internet. The civil society expresses deep gratitude to Snowden whose courage strengthened and influenced the future discussions of Internet governance. It is now time for Edward Snowden to safely return home.


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