Internet governance dialogue in Belgrade 2011

By EDRi · June 1, 2011

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Deutsch: [Internet Governance Dialog 2011 in Belgrad |]

The 4th European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) took place in
Belgrade on 30-31 May 2011 covering a lot of debates on a large area of
issues on concepts of Internet Governance, from freedom of expression to
privacy and cybersecurity.

The opening session was marked by Internet freedom concepts with the opening
video speech by Carl Bildt, the foreign minister of Sweden who noted that
“the blocking and filtering of content, popular in certain quarters, should
be avoided. I think it is a disturbing fact that more governments have
become more sophisticated in trying to monitor the behaviour and also, to a
certain extent to censor, the content of the net. We must send a strong
message that according to the values that we represent, this is simply not

He also claimed that Europe should have a unitary voice asking for freedom
on the Internet: “I would say that from the European point of view, our
emphasis should be on the freedom issues of the net, the other voices in the
world that are pressing in another direction and we should be on our guard
against those particular tendencies. And I think we need to develop as
unified and as strong European voice on these issues as we can.”

His speech follows a similar stand for Internet freedom taken a few days
before, in an event held on 23 May 2011 in Brussels (reported in a
previous EDRi-gram article).

In a data protection workshop on the first day, the panel, including
Katarzyna Szymielewicz from EDRi-member Panoptykon Foundation Poland,
participants debated the review of the privacy standards, with an
emphasis on the right to oblivion, as a new principle to be included in the
review of the data protection legislative tools. The workshop also
underlined the tension between the right to privacy and some new business
models, a tension which should not lead to diminishing the protection of

A plenary on “new media” of the second day involved a lot of participants
trying to debate the notion of new media, editorial control, trust in mass
medium sources and freedom of expression. The discussion drew on the
current work undertaken by the Council of Europe to develop a “new notion of
media”, already covered in the EDRi-gram. An interesting debate on the paid
vs. free media focused on the fact that for the free media there is a price
to be paid as well, but it is just not visible. You can pay by giving your
personal information or you can pay via advertisement. Another part of the debate was if the media law needed to be changed and in what direction. In this respect, Meryem Marzouki from EDRi underlined that such a regulation on a new media should be possible only if the purpose was “to ensure plurality of views and to ensure the public interest.”

The conclusions of the meeting underlined the openness of conversations, the
challenge of incorporating different perspectives and the importance of
maintaining a bottom up approach to internet policy issues. An active
participation of the youth is also worth noting, some of them also
participants in the New Media Summer School, with strong public positions in
favour of preventing censorship and promoting freedom of expression and net
neutrality during the debates.

The next EuroDIG conference will take place in Sweden in 2012.

Eurodig 2011 (30-31.05.2011)

Carl Bildt at EuroDIG 2011 (30.05.2011)

New Media Summer School (27.05.- 1.06.2011)

EDRi-gram: ENDitorial:CoE: A New Notion of Media. For Better or For Worse?