Bytes for All, Pakistan was part of the civil society caucus, who signed the letter to Mr. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations and Mr. Chengetai N.J. Masango, Interim Secretary General, Internet Governance Forum on the obligations of the next IGF Host Country – Azerbaijan.
This open letter is appended below:
September 31, 2011
Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Mr. Chengetai N.J. Masango
Interim Secretary General
Internet Governance Forum
Dear Secretary General and Mr. Masango,
Upon the successful conclusion of the 6th annual Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi, Kenya and on behalf of the undersigned organizations and individuals, we wish to convey our ongoing support of the multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum process and to emphasize the importance that the host country selected for the next forum maintains the open and inclusive approach that has become the standard for the IGF process for policy dialogs since the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003.
The Internet is unique as a system that enables highly interactive and dynamic communications and information sharing, which is both dependent upon and which serves all sectors of society. In order for the Internet to remain a driver for both innovation and development, we believe it is essential that discussions regarding Internet governance remain a dynamic process that includes the equal involvement of all stakeholders from governments, the private sector, and civil society.
The role of the host country is deeply important to maintaining the multi-stakeholder approach. As such, we call on you to ensure that the next host country takes all steps necessary—both from a technical and from an ethical perspective—to maintain this approach. Specifically, the host country should:
1) Ensure that all registered participants, including participants from countries with which the host country may have political differences, are able to obtain visas in a reasonable timeframe of no more than two weeks or upon arrival in country. It is particularly important that consulates of the host country are provided information about the forum and are instructed to require only information that registered participants are able to obtain from forum organizers to demonstrate their registration.
2) Ensure that adequate hotel accommodation is provided at reasonable rates for all participants, whether from government, the private sector, or civil society.
3) Ensure that discussions and dialogs taking place within the forum remain open and inclusive, including to both media representatives and persons who may wish to participate remotely, as well as ensure that opinions expressed by host country nationals during the forum are not used in any way to penalize them either during or after the forum.
4) Work with the Secretariat to update on a regular basis and have staff available to answer questions on both substantive and logistical information about the forum (e.g., registration information, agenda and speaker information, hotel and transportation options, and visa requirements).
In summary, we wish to congratulate the Secretariat of the IGF, the government of Kenya, and the hundreds of representatives of governments, corporations, and civil society organizations who participated in this year’s multi-stakeholder forum and we call on you to work with the next host country to ensure an equally successful process for next year’s IGF.
Shahzad Ahmad, Country Coordinator
Bytes for All (Pakistan)
Sean Ang, Executive Director
Southeast Asian Centre for e-Media (Malaysia)
Heidi Arbuckle, Program Officer
Ford Foundation Indonesia (Indonesia)
Alaksiej Carniajeu, Consultant and Trainer
Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs of Belarus (Belarus)
Victorius Elvino Priyanto Sadipun
IT Consultant (Indonesia)
Researcher and Lecturer on Internet Governance (Brazil)
Sam Gregory, Program Director
Ronald Koven, European Director
World Press Freedom Committee (France)
Joy Liddicoat, Project Coordinator, Internet Rights are Human Rights
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Sascha Meinrath, Director of Open Technology Initiative
New America Foundation (USA)
Mariam Memarsadeghi, Director
Tavaana E-Learning Institute for Iranian Civil Society (USA)
Meg Roggensack, Senior Advisor on Business and Human Rights
Human Rights First (USA)
Paula Schriefer, Director of Advocacy
Freedom House (USA)
Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (Nigeria)
Alexey Sidorenko, Managing Editor of “RuNet Echo” project
Global Voices Online (Russia)
Orapin Yingyongpathana, Manager
Amira Yahyaoui, Internet Freedom Activist