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IGF 2014: IFEX members' contributions to the conversation on Internet and digital rights

IFEX members are taking part in the Internet Governance Forum, the largest annual gathering on Internet and digital rights.

A rainbow appears over the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul, 3 September 2014
A rainbow appears over the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul, 3 September 2014

REUTERS/Murad Sezer

What you need to know

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the biggest annual gathering for Internet and digital rights, is underway in Istanbul, Turkey, 2-5 September 2014.

The IGF is a multi-stakeholder policy dialogue space first convened by the United Nations Secretary General in 2006 to discuss Internet policy issues. This is the seventh annual meeting. More than 1,500 policymakers, technologists, business sector representatives, Euro parliamentarians, intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations, and others are participating - and various IFEX members are among them.

For more information, you can access many of the sessions via the IGF webcasts. On Twitter, follow the hashtag #IGF2014 and we also suggest you keep an eye on the following IFEX members who are live tweeting from the meeting in Istanbul:

ARTICLE 19 @article19law
Bytes for All, Pakistan @bytesforall
Committee to Protect Journalists @CPJInternet
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility @katray
Derechos Digitales @derechosdigital
Electronic Frontier Foundation @EFF
Freedom House @FreedomHouseDC , @madelineearp
Index on Censorship @IndexCensorship , @melodypatry
International Press Institute @globalfreemedia
PEN International @pen_int
Privacy International @privacyint
Southeast Asian Press Alliance @seapabkk , @gayathryv


Read on to find out about some special initiatives by IFEX members around Internet freedom and the IGF.

IFEX's Guide to "IGF Speak"

  • IFEX - IFEX has compiled a glossary of abbreviations and terms that are often used at the IGF and in discussions on Internet governance.

Test Your 'Freedom on the Net' Knowledge

  • Freedom House - To refresh your memory about Internet freedom around the world, check out an interactive map which is based on the latest data from Freedom House's Freedom on the Net report.

Latin America in a glimpse: Human rights and the Internet

  • Derechos Digitales - This extensive report, created for this year's IGF, captures the ongoing discussions in Latin America regarding human rights and the internet.

African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms

  • Media Rights Agenda and other IFEX members - The development of this declaration is a Pan-African initiative to promote human rights standards and principles of openness in Internet policy formulation and implementation on the continent. It was presented at the IGF.

Communications surveillance in the digital age

  • Bytes for All, Pakistan - This special Global Information Society Watch 2014 report was launched at the IGF. Bytes for All authored the Pakistan country report.

Who is the Enemy of the Internet?

  • IPS Communication Foundation - Bianet - Bianet asked participants at the IGF who or what they think is the enemy of the internet.

SEAPA selects 4 to attend IGF 2014

  • Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) - SEAPA supported four journalists from the region to attend the IGF: Gabey Goh of Digital News Asia (Malaysia), Patranun Limudomporn of Blognone (Thailand), Jake Soriano, contributor to Vera Files (Philippines) and Tonyo Cruz, op-ed columnist Manila Bulletin (Philippines).

IFLA talks copyright, public access, and local content

  • International Federation of Library Associations - IFLA is attending the IGF for the 7th time, and will bring the library perspective to workshops on access to local content, copyright, and public access to ICTs.

Reporters Without Borders blog on IGF Istanbul

  • Reporters Without Borders (RWB) - RWB invites readers to follow its activities at the IGF on its dedicated blog. It will include reflections from participants, transcriptions of the IGF's discussions and more.

Open more space for civil society and human rights at IGF

  • Freedom House - Representatives of a group of global activists, journalists and lawyers who participated in the IGF as part of the Freedom House civil society delegation, issued a statement at the meeting's conclusion to highlight their positions and concerns.

ARTICLE 19 at the IGF

  • ARTICLE 19 - While at the IGF, ARTICLE 19 will be working to convince governments, key industry figures and stakeholders to increase their focus on the application of rights to freedom of expression and freedom of information on the internet.

Protesters demonstrate against new controls on the Internet approved by the Turkish parliament in Ankara, 22 February 2014. Some of the signs read ''Internet of Doomsday!
Protesters demonstrate against new controls on the Internet approved by the Turkish parliament in Ankara, 22 February 2014. Some of the signs read ''Internet of Doomsday!"

REUTERS/Umit Bektas


Turkey's efforts to stifle the Internet are also highlighted during the IGF


Some IFEX members and other participants are taking this opportunity to draw attention to the dire state of Internet freedom in Turkey - and ensure that this is addressed during the IGF.



UN Internet Forum should ensure host governments meet free expression standards

Turkey: Internet freedom, rights in sharp decline

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) - "Turkey's ruling party has responded to criticism of its policies by escalating Internet censorship and prosecuting social media users. Delegations at the Internet Government Forum shouldn't turn a blind eye to the Turkish government's increasingly regressive approach to rights online."

The struggle for Turkey's Internet

  • Freedom House - Turkey is a battleground state for Internet regulation, according to a Freedom House report released in advance of the IGF. The report shows how a young population, improving technology and international connections could result in a free Internet the world might envy, or that government policies might provoke a model for muzzling a vibrant online sphere.


Turkey: Enemy of the Internet?

  • Reporters Without Borders - Together with Amnesty İnternational, Human Rights Watch, the Turkish Association of Journalists (TGC) and Turkey's Alternative Informatics Association (Alternatif Bilisim Dernegi), RWB will hold a news conference in order to put the alarming decline in freedom of information in Turkey on the IGF agenda.


In the meantime, two renowned Turkish digital activists have decided to boycott the IGF.

Why two renowned Internet activists are boycotting the Internet Governance Forum

  • Index on Censorship - "In addition to widespread blocking of websites and content as well as criminal investigations and prosecutions to silence political speech, the Turkish authorities are also building surveillance infrastructure . . . " Internet rights advocates Yaman Akdeniz and Kerem Altiparmak explain why they are boycotting the IGF.


Finally, amid concerns that there would be little space for a free and open discussion of free expression issues in Turkey during the IGF, a group of Turkish digital activists decided to hold a parallel forum, the Internet Ungovernance Forum. It is being held in Istanbul on 4-5 September 2014 at a different venue from the IGF.

Internet Ungovernance Forum

  • Supported by ARTICLE 19 and EFF - Turkey's Alternative Informatics Association organised this forum "for people who demand that fundamental freedoms, openness, unity and net neutrality remain the building blocks of the Internet. Our ambition is to talk about the real problems of the internet, how we can solve these and to chart a path for action."

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