The Press Freedom Dimensions of Internet Governance

03 September 2014 - A Workshop on Istanbul,Turkey


IGF 2014 sub theme that this workshop fall under

Internet and Human Rights


Revelations about surveillance and mass data collection over the past year have underscored the fact that the practice of journalism, and the circulation of information more broadly, is inseparable from key dimensions of Internet governance, from the infrastructure backbone to transmission dynamics to encryption. The past year’s headlines have made it clear that both policy changes and technological efforts are necessary to address the protection of communication and information exchange amid aggressive government surveillance and private sector complicity and ensure that all actors respect the rule of law, privacy and free expression.
As “canaries in the data mine,” journalists represent one of the most vulnerable — and engaged — groups of Internet users. What happens to journalists and journalism will likely foreshadow other, broader developments. Yet to what extent do different stakeholder groups understand the critical importance that their input to Internet governance plays in sustaining an environment in which press freedom and freedom of expression more broadly is possible?

The non-governmental organization Committee to Protect Journalists proposes a roundtable workshop to explore various stakeholders’ role in resisting mass surveillance, particularly of journalists and media, and how Internet governance choices may impact on press freedom. The interactive roundtable will seek to produce an initial list of ideas about the roles of technology companies, government, academia, journalists and news organizations in protecting source confidentiality and otherwise ensuring the free flow of information from the press to the global public.

The roundtable will help inform internal policy choices at companies, in government, in newsrooms and in the field, and will seek to foster a discussion that is relevant to all at-risk Internet users.

Introduction to the roundtable and the questions at hand (Dr. Radsch, 5 minutes)
5 minute overview of UNESCO's conceptualization of the press freedom dimensions of internet governance (Dr. Berger)
2 minute comments from participants on what they think are the two most important or consequential press freedom dimensions of internet governance:
Ms. Ben Hassine
Mr. Less
Dr. Lemos
Ms. Geybulla

Input from remote participants

Synthesize commonalities, identify tensions

Open to audience (including remote participants) for additional dimensions and Q&A

Answer questions and discuss the additional suggestions with a view towards identifying the most important/consequential press freedom dimensions of internet governance

Name(s) and stakeholder and organizational affiliation(s) of institutional co-organizer(s)


Has the proposer, or any of the co-organizers, organized an IGF workshop before?


The link to the workshop report

Type of session


Duration of proposed session

60 minutes

Subject matter #tags that describe the workshop

#humanrights #pressfreedom #journalism #surveillance #privacy

Names and affiliations (stakeholder group, organization) of speakers the proposer is planning to invite

Courtney C. Radsch, PhD
o Stakeholder group: academia, civil society.
o Organization: Committee to Protect Journalists: Advocacy Director
o Region: WEOG.
o Contacted? Yes.
o Confirmed? Yes.
• Guy Berger,
o Stakeholder group(s): intergovernmental
o Organization: UNESCO: Director, Communications & Information Sector
o Region: Africa.
o Confirmed? Yes
• Ronaldo Lemos
o Stakeholder group(s): academia, civil society.
o Organization: Director of the Rio Institute for Technology & Society, and professor at the Rio de Janeiro State University Law School.
o Region: LAC.
o Confirmed? Yes
• Arzu Geybulla
o Stakeholder group(s): civil society
o Organization: Freelance Journalist
o Region: Asia
o Confirmed? Yes.
• Marcel Leonardi
o Stakeholder group: Private Sector
o Organization: Google: Public Policy Senior Counsel, Google Brazil.
o Region: LAC.
o Contacted? Yes.
o Confirmed? Yes.
• Wafa Ben Hassine
o Stakeholder group(s): academia
o Organization: human rights advocate / intl law expert
o Region: Arab.
o Confirmed? Yes.

Name of Moderator(s)

Courtney C. Radsch, PhD

Name of Remote Moderator(s)

Geoffrey King

Description of how the proposer plan to facilitate discussion amongst speakers, audience members and remote participants

The organizer will send all participants several background documents to read in advance of the IGF. A pre-conference call will be organized with all the speakers in order to identify key points to be addressed and prepare for the session. Speakers will be asked to limit their interventions to no more than 2 minutes at the outset so as to facilitate conversation and debate. The moderator will ask the audience and remote participants to show which stakeholder group they represent by a show of hands at the outset of the session, and all will be invited to participate actively in the roundtable. Remote participants will similarly be asked. Throughout the session the moderator will solicit input and perspectives from the audience and remote participants, and include periodic questions for non-verbal responses to provide instant feedback to the speakers.

Description of the proposer's plans for remote participation

We will explore the possibility of a remote hub with our correspondent in Africa in partnership with a local journalist group and in the CPJ New York office. Although we will not have remote panelists since we are not doing a panel, we will include remote roundtable participants to ensure that people who cannot travel to Istanbul nonetheless have an opportunity to participate. CPJ has an extensive network of journalists that we will draw on to ensure that perspectives from different regions are included. As an experienced moderator, Dr. Radsch is well prepared to include these remote participants in the conversation.

Background paper

background paper