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EuroDIG: Roundtable of European Parliamentary Perspectives Regarding Internet Governance

During this session the most relevant issues on IG from the point of view of the presenters were highlighted. Unfortunately, no concrete steps were proposed how to address these issues. Moreover, these issues were rather relevant to the developed countries with good infrastructure and absence of digital divide based on social stratification among their population. In the developing countries the question of internet access to the majority of the population is still crucial and it’s the major obstacle to discussing and addressing further IG issues.
One of the issues that were touched upon was network neutrality (NN). It was said that it “comes from interests of the users” and national governments, trade and industry are in opposition. Moreover, it was stressed that the topic of NN is not well discussed and developed. This is true, but it was not really said how this problem should be addressed by the policy makers.
Further general and common problem was highlighted: “Regulation of the Internet: there are regulations of other media – radio, TV, but not much of the Internet” and “there should be an analogy with other media for Internet: although there is no such a crucial limitation of spectrum like for broadcasters, so there should be also public service present on the Internet that can ensure open access which is a central feature of the Internet”.
I agree, as the Internet is still the newest media and that the regulation should be put in place together with its development, but at the same time I think that this regulation should be taken from the one that concerns traditional mass media and just modified taking into account the nature of the Internet. Moreover, open access and NN should be one of the major features of the Internet protected by legislation.
It was interesting to hear Vincenzo Maria Vita, as Italy is famous for its controversial approach to media governance and policy making. He told that there was a debate in Italy about the new law on net society, which turns out to be a soft law.
The basic principle of it concerns NN:
to endure neutral access to IT communications networks;
ensure active citizenship right and ensure wider use if new ICT in schools, universities and the business community;
promote cultural diversity;
remove obstacles to equal access to communication networks by citizens with disabilities and socio-economic disadvantage.

Other issues that were highlighted during the roundtable as important ones that are needed now were:
* minimum legislation;
* maximum response from the governments;
* industry engagement.
* cooperation among civil society, government and industries.

The issues named as crucial for the moment were:
* absence of stable economic models for e-commerce / businesses;
* media literacy as a key for the future;
* concentration [E.g., YOUTube case shows we can have dominance companies that influence evolution and governance of the Internet];
* the right to information;
* network neutrality.

The conclusion was that all these above mentioned issues would be discussed at the workshops and further sessions in details.

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Simona Popa (Romania)
Marina Sokolova (Belarus)
Andreana Stankova (Bulgaria)
Vedran Djordjevic (Canada)
Maria Morozova (Ukraine)
David Kavanagh (Ireland)
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