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2010 Southeast Asia Declaration on Internet Governance!

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On the occasion of the first Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) Roundtable in Hong Kong on June 15-16, 2010, civil society representatives from eight Southeast Asian countries called on the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and its Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) to fully uphold these aforementioned commitments and principles, as mandated by the United Nations Secretary-General. 

2010 Southeast Asia Declaration on Internet Governance

"[The IGF is]
multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic, and transparent."

– 2005 Tunis Agenda

"[We call for] a people-centered,
inclusive and development-oriented Information Society…
full respect and upholding
of universal human rights including freedom of opinion and expression; and
"The universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of
all human rights and fundamental freedoms"

        – 2003 Declaration of Principles of World Summit on Information


On the occasion of the
first Asia-Pacific Regional
Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) Roundtable
in Hong Kong on June 15-16, 2010, we, civil society representatives
from eight Southeast Asian countries, call on the Internet Governance Forum
and its Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group
(MAG) to fully uphold these aforementioned commitments and principles, as
mandated by the United Nations Secretary-General. 

We applaud
the work of the first APrIGF towards building multi-stakeholder discussion on
internet governance. In this vein of inclusive dialogue, we offer the following
perspectives and recommendations to the MAG meeting in
Geneva at the Palais
des Nations on June 28-29, as well as for the fifth annual IGF meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania on September 14-17,


Key Observations of the APrIGF

In response to the first
Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) Roundtable in Hong
Kong on June 15-16, 2010, we, netizens, journalists, bloggers, IT practitioners
and nongovernmental representatives from across Southeast Asia, offer the
following observations from the Roundtable:

1. Critical issues of
internet governance in Asia should guide future discussions on internet
governance policy:


Open access to information is the right of every individual, a right
that servers as a fundamental venue for one's knowledge- and capacity-building.
Access to information ultimately helps foster creativity and innovation,
thus promoting sustainable human and economic development.

Openness is key to a
democratic and open society. Restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression
online, such as state censorship which blocks Internet intermediaries, is one
of the threats to open societies. Intimidation and state censorship facilitate
self-censorship, a hazardous social phenomenon that further undermines
democracy and openness. 


The internet is for
everyone; it is a public good. Yet a Digital Divide between those countries and
communities with internet access and those without persists, and has not been
sufficiently addressed in discussions on internet governance. Proceedings at
the APrIGF indicated a higher priority must be placed on addressing not only
the global digital divide, but also regional and national ones. While Singapore
enjoys high Internet access rates (70% penetration), countries like Burma and
Cambodia are at the other end of the spectrum (0.22% and 0.51% penetration,
respectively), ranked the lowest of 200 countries studied in the World

Internet access is
fundamental for progress. Various factors, such as political, economic and
social development, poverty levels, and technological infrastructure affect
whether and how often people can access the internet.  Internationally
coordinated efforts must be made to address domestic policies that contribute
to the digital divide in Southeast Asia and find solutions to bridge the gap.

Cyber Security

Definition of cyber security must include elements that address right to
privacy and civil and political freedom.

An individual's right over his/her own privacy, including personal data and
information, must not be sacrificed. Information technology, such as IPv6,
ZigBee, RFID, when used without transparent and accountable oversight, could
pose threats to individual rights.

Today's information society
connects personal IT devices directly to the outside world, no longer storing
personal data on a single server.  Given the involvement of the government
and businesses (especially state-owned enterprises) in running such
technologies, surveillance and identity theft remain a constant threat against
Internet users.  

In this regard, any
national security policy must not deviate from the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and all international human rights covenants to which states are

2. Opportunities exist to continue to improve the IGF Process:

Awareness of the IGF in
Southeast Asia and at the ASEAN level is presently lacking. Furthermore,
Asia-Pacific-wide representation of civil society at the APrIGF Roundtable was
incomplete.  There exists a need not only to develop awareness about the
IGF, but also to provide learning materials to make the IGF accessible to all.
Greater access to the IGF would help make it more inclusive with various
stakeholders, including those from the least developed nations and marginalized
and vulnerable groups in Asia-Pacific.  

During the APrIGF
Roundtable, an open dialogue and two-way exchange of information and ideas was
not fully facilitated.  Open space to discuss and articulate criticism and
suggest solutions must be guaranteed in all IGF events. Such an effort provides
practical benefit to Internet users, both present and future, when the outcome
of the APrIGF Roundtable is developed into a roadmap.  Clarifying and
planning the roles of local, national, regional and international
multi-stakeholders, will help promote and protect transparent and democratic
Internet governance and hence information society in the region.

Requests to the IGF

The first APrIGF presented
a valuable opportunity to analyze both the issues upon which the IGF focuses
and the process by which it is governed. With respect to these priority issues
and opportunities for improved processes, we therefore recommend the following:

Immediately address as an
urgent global internet governance issue the increasing implementation of law
that suppress and restrict freedom of expression and access to information,
especially within developing countries;

Fully integrate the
universal human rights agenda into IGF program and engage systematically and
regularly with the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, in
particular the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and
the UN Human Rights Council;

Ensure that the IGF policy
proposals and recommendations are in line with international human rights
principles and standards;    

Strengthen the IGF's
multilateralism and openness in the upcoming fifth annual IGF meeting in
Vilnius, Lithuania in September and future national and sub-regional level IGF
meetings in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific;

Extend the mandate of IGF
for another five years;

Conduct wider outreach to
civil society actors in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific and allocate financial
resources to encourage and support their participation in the fifth annual
meeting and subsequent global IGFs, and organize national and sub-regional
level IGFs;

Ensure active remote
participation in the annual meeting and subsequent IGFs, utilizing digital
technologies such as live-streaming webcast, video conference, twitter and
other social media tools;

Guarantee that technical
discussions during IGFs fully accommodates new constituents and stakeholders
and incorporate an assessment of policy implications on the rights of Internet
users and society; 

Develop a plan of action in
order to facilitate follow-up and monitoring of IGF outcomes; and

Conduct an impact study by
an independent organization to assess the effectiveness of IGF, in accordance
with the principles set out in the 2005 Tunis Agenda and the 2003 Declaration
of Principles of the WSIS.  

Please click here to download the complete statement (pdf).