Remote Participation: a condition for broader inclusion
The growing awareness about the importance of creating channels for online interaction has increased, both on the national and on the international level. Governments make use of online platforms to provide information and services, as well as seeking to remain in close contact with citizens. Commercial enterprises and civil society take advantage of the potential offered by the online tools to improve their communication and organizational skills.
On the political sphere, online channels create new possibilities for constant participation on the debates and on the decision-making processes. While the traditional mechanisms for participation, such as councils, were limited, both in terms of space and time, the Internet offers an opportunity for real-time interaction of people who are geographically dispersed.
The possibility for broader participation, regardless of frontiers, is particularly important to processes of global scope, such as Internet Governance. The IGF has taken place in different continents, something that is quite positive, but makes it harder for people to attend the meetings. Some segments particularly suffer from constraints be physically present, such as the young and the disabled people. Governments and civil society organizations from the developing world, who generally count on less financial resources, have also been under-represented.
Remote participation is one of the measures that should be put in place in order to reduce the various gaps related to the Internet today, such as access, age, gender and informational gaps. Reliable tools allow communication in both ways – from the IGF to the people following the debates around the world, and from these remote participants to the people physically present in the meeting – is an important step in reducing inequalities.