IGF is a UN multistakeholder forum to discuss on internet governance. As you may read from its website the event is “to support the United Nations Secretary-General in carrying out the mandate from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) with regard to convening a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue”. This is the 8th IGF. It was started in 2006 in Athens. (http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/aboutigf)
EROTICS and APC invited FAMM Indonesia in regard of two of IGF mandate: (1) to facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and in this regard make full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific and technical communities, and (2) to identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations.
Based on my observation, the participants are coming from private sectors, NGOs, academics, government officials especially those related to information and telecommunication.
The challenges are on telecommunication and energy infrastructure. There are many parts of Indonesia which experience shortage of electricity and some of FAMM members are living and working within rural communities. Other challenges are in term of misuse of internet and the national internet governance which could bring activists as criminal based on the defamation article in the internet law. In one session, an Indonesia speaker stressed that the defamation rule mostly used by crooks and corruptors to criminalized and blocked information to the public.
There is also an anti-pornography law in Indonesia that often pointed at LGBT and women’s NGOs website. The LGBT and women activists often faced cyber-bullying and hacking from other users who disagree to our agenda and movement.
I followed panels with two themes, namely Internet governance and local content. The first theme gives me an understanding of several cases of internet-based violence that occurred in several countries, particularly in Indonesia as well as some legal tools that can be used to stop and prevent similar cases happening again.
This is a great opportunity for me to relate how human rights perspective sees internet governance practices. As internet has became a safe space and crowd-sourcing for people with various background, values and agenda, it is increasingly important to keep it safe and accessible to more people. The mainstream media is lacking of space and they have their own politics in selecting news-worthy cases. There is growing number of women activists who also speak out through the media and ICT to reach and gather bigger audience on specific issue. Therefore the forum also discussed the safety and security of bloggers, journalists, and activists.
FAMM Indonesia has a fairly extensive network among women activists. It’s a great resource and the mappings of cases involving ICT can also be done in conjunction with monitoring which conducted periodically. I am also planning to encouraging FAMM members to write, produce local content so that their issues reach wider public and have more people become part of the movement.
IGF 2013 equipped me with a more critical perspective in looking at the issue of media, ICT, and its relation to social activism. There is still perception that the internet is a neutral space that is open to all people, location and interests while the reality speak differently. If internet truly bridges the gap then there should be no such thing as “remote”. The virtual space has been influenced and shaped by the offline social norms and religious values. Sometimes the internet law still used those norms and the “protection” jargon to limit women’s freedom of expression.