Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Battle for Internet Governance Takes Shape

Shina Badaru of the Highway Africa News Agency (HANA) is covering the WSIS Africa Regional Prepcom in Accra, Ghana. Shina reports:

As the question of who manages the Internet continues to generate increasing global attention, African stakeholders are pushing for a more effective role for the continent’s user community in the governance of global information infrastructures. This topic was one of the crucial issues that attracted heated debate at the pre-conference workshops of the second African Regional Preparatory Conference for the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) which opened today at the Accra International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana.

An all day workshop on Internet Governance was orchestrated by ICANN and featured the following ICANN luminaries:

  • Mouhamet Diop (Member, ICANN Board)
  • Axel Pawlik (RIPE)
  • Kierran Baker (General Manager, Communications and Public Participation, ICANN)
  • Dr. Nii Narku Quaynor (Former ICANN Board Member)
  • Professor Clement Dzidonu (Vice Chairman, ALAC)
  • Pierre Dandjinou (Member, ALAC)
  • Sunday Folayan (Member, ALAC)
  • Ms. Anne Rachel Inne, (Policy Analyst/Liaison, ICANN)
  • Ms. Eliza Sam, (Coordinator for Africa, ICANN At Large)

With so many ICANN insiders pitching the ICANN mantra, it's no wonder that reporters are commenting on "heated debate". Shina continues with this observation:

Meanwhile, experts at the pre-WSIS workshops agree that contentious issues include those of internet governance, financing initiatives to close digital divide, and definitions. Olivier Nana Nzepa, a member of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) and chairperson of the African Civil Society Cabinet, says the issue of internet governance is even more critical for African economies where the growing community of users is more vulnerable to outside forces.

Another HANA reporter, Haru Mutasa, writes: "The gist of Saturday’s pre-conference workshop on Internet Governance was simple – ‘talk is cheap - we need to now minimise what is said at these gatherings and move into action’.


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