Global Voices summit 2017 participants contribute to UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators

Participants of the 2017 Global Voices Summit held on 2-3 December 2017 in Colombo, Sri Lanka contributed to three different consultations for the UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators. The events were moderated by Guy Berger, the UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

The Colombo consultations surfaced views and suggestions from journalists, the technical community, civil society actors and academics, drawing from the participants attending a global conference convened by the Global Voices network.

The UNESCO engagements were also an opportunity to raise awareness amongst a wide range of actors from Asia and abroad about UNESCO’s concept of Internet Universality.

Citing the major challenges of policy being put into practice, several contributors suggested the separation of indicators about the presence of legal frameworks on Internet issues, from the issue of implementation.

Contributors also suggested the need to the protect Internet Universality by having a strengthened focus on net neutrality, and more reference to the role of media actors in the digital space.

Other participants urged the need for indicators to assess the accuracy of official data which might need to be qualified. The definition of several terms in the draft indicators such “Internet development” of “safe use of Internet” needed to be spelled out.

UNESCO’s project to define Internet Universality indicators aims to build a framework of indicators through which to assess levels of achievement, in individual countries, of the four fundamental principles included in the ROAM Internet Universality concept: R – that the internet is based on human Rights; O – that it is Open; A – that it should be Accessible to all; M – that it is nurtured by Multistakeholder participation.

The indicators project draws on UNESCO’s experience with the Media Development Indicators (MDIs) which were adopted as part of the Organisation’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) in 2008.

As of November 2017, 27 face-to-face consultations have been held in 23 countries in five continents. The contributions received for the Indicators include online consultations where more than 180 contributions have been received.

The Global Voices Summit 2017, brought together bloggers, activists, social media experts and geeks from around the globe to discuss the evolving state of the open Internet, online civic movements, and human rights in the digital age. The summit was attended by participants from more than 60 countries who debated issues of misinformation, disinformation, the disruptions from corporate entities, to legal threats against bloggers and activists and many other challenges that could make or break the future of the internet.

For more information about UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators, see