World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Decrying Myths That UN Seeks Internet Control

Decrying Myths That UN Seeks Internet Control, Annan Arrives For Tunis Summit

New York, Nov 14 2005

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has arrived in Tunis to attend the United Nations information society summit aimed at bridging the digital divide between poor and rich countries, decrying a "growing chorus of misinformation" that the world body is seeking to take over the Internet.

"Much as some would like to open up another front of attack on the United Nations, this dog of an argument won't bark. I urge all stakeholders to come to Tunis ready to bridge the digital divide, ready to build an open, inclusive information society that enriches and empowers all people," he declared.

In an opinion piece published in the 5 November issue of The Washington Post and picked up subsequently by newspapers around the world ahead of this week's World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), Mr. Annan conjured up a vision of the "dramatic, even revolutionary, change in realms ranging from health and education to journalism and politics" that should be shared with poorer nations.

"Far from plotting its capture, the UN wants only to ensure the Internet's global reach," he wrote regarding Web governance. "That effort is at the heart of this summit."

For historical reasons, he noted, the United States, which "deserves our thanks for having developed the Internet and made it available to the world," has the ultimate authority over some of its core resources.

"It is an authority that many say should now be shared with the international community," he added. "The United States, which has exercised its oversight responsibilities fairly and honourably, itself recognizes that other governments have legitimate public policy and sovereignty concerns, and that efforts to make the governance arrangements more international should continue."

But of all the options for future oversight arrangements drawn up by the Working Group on Internet Governance ahead of the Summit, which opens Wednesday and runs through Friday, "none says the UN should take over from the technical bodies now running the Internet; none proposes to create a new UN agency; and some suggest no UN role at all," Mr. Annan stressed.

"All say that the day-to-day management of the Internet should be left to technical institutions, not least to shield it from the heat of day-to-day politics. Everyone acknowledges the need for more international participation in discussions of Internet governance issues. The disagreement is over how to achieve it. So let's set aside fears of UN 'designs' on the Internet."

He emphasized the Internet's role as an agent for change. "In the UN's own work for development, we have glimpsed only the beginnings of the benefits it can provide: for victims of disaster, quicker, better coordinated relief; for poor people in remote areas, lifesaving medical information; and for people trapped under repressive governments, access to uncensored information, an outlet to air their grievances and appeal for help," he wrote.

But at the same time he noted potential risks involved, while pleading the cause of an uncensored Internet.

"There are also legitimate concerns about the use of the Internet to incite terrorism or help terrorists, disseminate pornography, facilitate illegal activities or glorify Nazism and other hateful ideologies," he wrote.

"But censoring cyberspace, compromising its technical underpinnings or submitting it to stringent governmental oversight, would mean turning our backs on one of today's greatest instruments of progress. To defend the Internet is to defend freedom itself."

Today, Mr. Annan met with the Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news