The Asia-Pacific region is at the cutting edge of key debates surrounding digital rights. This includes the digital divide, free expression, privacy, the right to be forgotten etc. With over 60 per-cent of the world’s population, the debates and decisions in this region have a significant global impact also. The coordination of technical standards, the development, regulation and legislation of rights-based issues should not be left to a few stakeholders only: Internet governance as a multi-stakeholder, transparent and democratic process arose out of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva and Tunis in 2003 and 2005. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and the Regional IGFs (rIGFs) were conceived at the world summit. They have emerged as open platforms and key forums for the discussion of policy issues related to the internet.
Regional IGFs operate in other regions, including Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Asia-Pacific Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) has emerged as the leading platform in this part of the world. Importantly it commands participation from the private sector, government, civil society and academia.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) Regional Offices for South Asia and South-East and East Asia aim to engage with leading partners in the region. The APrIGF is an important platform to engage with stakeholders and influencers in the region.
The Foundation was well represented: Rajat Kumar, Wolfgang Heinze, Dr Aung Thu Hein and Miklos Romandy from our offices in India, Philippines, Myanmar and Thailand attended the conference to join the discussions and identify potential new partners Rajat Kumar spoke at a session on Algorithmic Transparency organised by the Software Freedom Law Centre of India (SFLC.in). The Foundation’s representatives went back home with much food-for-thought and many new ideas for new projects and partnerships in the future. “We will continue to engage on internet governance issues as a strategic component of our work in the area of digital transformation”, says Rajat Kumar.