Internet Universality Indicators highlighted to Council of Europe
The 47 Member States of the Council of Europe (CoE) can profitably take advantage of UNESCO's framework for assessing the Internet, according to the Guy Berger when speaking to expert representatives in Strasbourg this week.
The UNESCO indicators reflect vast international expertise which has contributed to developing this research standard, the UNESCO official said. Berger was speaking at the COE's Steering Committee on Media and Information Society, at the Palais de l'Europe.
"Your Council of Ministers in 2016 recommended that CoE states carry out regular evaluations of the Internet freedom environment at the national level," he noted.
Relevant to implementing this opportunity is that the two-year process of developing the UNESCO indicators had benefited from cooperation with the CoE.
Cognisance had also been taken of the CoE's Internet freedom indicators, which had enriched the UNESCO framework, said Berger.
The focus of the CoE indicators is on human rights online, and these are included in a special category of UNESCO's indicators. At the same time, Berger pointed out, "the UNESCO framework further examines areas that are interdependent with rights – namely Openness, Accessibility and Multistakeholder governance.”
The UNESCO indicators also cover contextual and cross-cutting issues, as well as providing possible data sources for all categories.
“The scope of the UNESCO framework enables a holistic mapping of the national Internet,” said Berger.
“The research process recommended by UNESCO in our Implementation Guide calls for oversight by a Multistakeholder Advisior Board,” he added. "All this culminates in a validation conference where interested actors can consider any policy options arising from the research findings."
Responding to a question about whether Multistakeholder participation was meaningful or just a charade, Berger outlined how the UNESCO indicators could help measure the involvement of different actors in shaping norms and rules at a national level, as well as assess a country's participation in international governance processes.
Berger encouraged Committee members to take forward the idea of using the UNESCO indicators, saying that this would not only produce useful national information but also engage their countries in a global community where they could share findings and good practices.