Getting involved in Internet governance: An Introductory Guide

By Michael J. Oghia

Internet governance (IG) refers to all of the policies and processes that are shaping the evolution of the Internet. Given the increased reliance of journalists and media outlets on digital technologies, the overall success of media development is now inextricably linked to decisions made at the diverse set of Internet governance bodies. This includes a broad array of topics, such as safeguarding security and privacy online, ensuring content regulation policies uphold human rights, creating effective digital media literacy strategies, and finding responses to digital disinformation campaigns to name a few. These discussions all inform the media development community’s broader goal of ensuring that citizens have access to objective, high-quality information.

Yet, in my experience, media development stakeholders are severely underrepresented within most Internet-related debates Luckily, how to change this will be the topic of a multistakeholder gathering organized by CIMA, International Media Support (IMS), ARTICLE 19, and the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) on 17 December 2017 immediately preceding the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland. I strongly encourage those who are attending the IGF to sign up to join us for this important conversation. But even if you can’t make it to this meeting, there are still numerous other ways for people to get involved.

Over the past two years, I have participated in as well as organized several Internet governance capacity building events. One recurrent point I heard is that there are not clear instructions for how to get involved in the various Internet governance debates and processes. Given the myriad stakeholders involved, the amount of topics Internet governance encompasses, and the fora available to discuss them, how does one get engaged? This led me to put together a guide to help someone interested in getting. Note that this list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather, it features some of the easier ways to get involved.


­Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

The IGF is an annual, multistakeholder event held each year under the auspices of the United Nations. The IGF also hosts IGFs at the country, subregional, and regional levels, which feed into the global IGF. For more information, see:

Internet Society (ISOC)

ISOC is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, access, and policy. It features chapters all over the world, and ISOC members are involved in every aspect of Internet governance. For more information, see:

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

ICANN is the organization responsible for operating the Domain Name System (DNS), which is essentially the equivalent of the Internet’s phone book – holding the registry of all Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and domain names. It is governed by an international, multistakeholder community. For more information, see:

DiploFoundation & Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) Digital Watch observatory

The GIP Digital Watch observatory, an initiative of DiploFoundation, is a comprehensive Internet governance and digital policy observatory that provides monthly updates about digital policy as well as tracks issues and policy developments. For more information, see:

European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG)

EuroDIG is the regional IGF for Europe, and addresses various policy, content, and development-related issues. For more information, see:

Southeastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG)

A subregional IGF initiative connected to EuroDIG, this event focuses on Southeastern Europe – including the Balkans and Caucasus. For more information, see:

Asia-Pacific Resources

These resources are specific to those living and working in the Asia-Pacific region.

Other Conferences and Events

Mailing Lists to Join

Other Ways to Get Involved

Other Useful Resources

Michael J. Oghia is a Belgrade, Serbia-based independent consultant, researcher, and editor working within the Internet governance ecosystem. Follow him on  Twitter @mikeoghia.

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