I&JPN spoke at UNESCO Global Conference “Internet for Trust”

Published on
February 24, 2023

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conference “Internet for Trust”, dedicated to discuss the draft global guidelines for regulating digital platforms, took place in a hybrid format in Paris, from February 21-23, 2023. 

The conference gathered 4.300 participants that followed a debate on how to safeguard freedom of expression and access to information.

Bertrand de La Chapelle, Executive Director of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, and Chief Vision Officer at the Datasphere Initiative was invited to speak at the session “defining the multistakeholder regulatory scope”.

Speakers at the conference underlined the need for common global guidelines to improve the reliability of information while protecting human rights. The Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network contributed to UNESCO's guidelines by providing feedback on the regulatory framework for digital content platforms to secure information as a public good. A new draft is expected to be available by the end of March 2023.

“Discussions, such as the ones we are having now in Paris, are immensely important. It’s important to figure out a common set of guidelines on how to regulate this digital space. Technology cannot be misused to suppress people, to surveil or harass, or to shut down the internet.”, stated Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, at the Conference. 

Thomas Schneider, Head of International Affairs, Office of Federal Communications (OFCOM), Switzerland, and Bertrand de La Chapelle, both raised important questions concerning the scope of the regulations:  Who defines what is harmful and for whom? Who regulates the regulators? How do you organize the coordination between independent regulators at the national and a global level?

This global challenge requires a systemic solution. Mr. de La Chapelle highlighted the need for a collective approach to platform regulation that would bring together all the actors, including platforms, to the table and identify national regulation, co-regulatory, and self-regulatory measures. 

In line with that, Alison Gillwald, Executive Director of Research ICT Africa, stated "we need to find the mechanism of global governance so we have interoperability". 

These mechanisms should ensure social inclusion to mitigate the digital divide. "We need to come up with ethical methods of regulation, and we need to make sure that they are inclusive" shared Latifa Akharbach, President of the African Communication Regulation Authority Network and President of the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA), Morocco.

  • Learn more about UNESCO Conference here

  • Watch the recording of the Conference here