16 January 2018

IFLA at the Internet Governance Forum 2017

IFLA participated in the 2017 Internet Governance Forum (IGF), held in Geneva. The IGF is a global multi stakeholder platform that facilitates the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the Internet. It is, in fact, a venue for exploring questions around the role of the Internet and our digital future in an inclusive and democratic manner. The theme of the 2017 edition was “Shape your Digital Future”.

At the IGF, IFLA's representatives underlined the important role libraries play in shaping this future. Sessions covered topics from the importance of accessibility for all, the Domain Name System, Fake News, Freedom of Expression and Cybersecurity, among others.

More importantly, IFLA led several discussions as an invited guest and coalition member, moderating the session of the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries. This provided a space to address Internet governance issues relating to public access, and discuss how existing expertise, networks and infrastructure offered by public libraries can contribute to the goals and spirit of the WSIS process.

The session’s discussion focused on the policy changes necessary to support Internet connectivity in all libraries, and notably what governments can do. If access to information were at the heart of the mandates of Universal Service Funds (USF), for example, this could lead to significant progress. As a result, USF, TV White Space and national telecommunication policies will be further investigated as viable alternative to enhance public access in libraries. Read the full report here.

IFLA also led a lightning session on digital preservation and it was invited to speak at a UNESCO session, chaired by Guy Berger, UNESCO Director of Division Freedom of Expression and Media Development, focusing on the Internet Universality Indicators. This invitation represented a great opportunity to set out our interest in a healthier and better Internet for libraries, librarians and patrons. IFLA will continue to engage in this work, given its promise for libraries.

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Internet access, Internet governance, Switzerland

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