yIGF in Tokyo (19/7/2012)
Inspired by United Nations Internet Governance Forum (UNIGF), yIGF Camp closely follows it by imitating its multi-stakeholders’ model. This year(2012) the theme is Copyright and Piracy.
The camp was composed of four rounds of Stakeholder Group Simulation, one external meeting and one group presentation. Throughout the camp, participants wore different ‘hats’ by representing roles from particular stakeholders’ group. These stakeholders included governments, NGOs, business sectors, and “parents and teachers” respectively. By role-playing, YIGF Camp aims to encourage youth to think from a different perspective. Knowing the constraints as well as benefits for other stakeholders’, youth would gain more ideas thus developing a better understanding on the issues.
During Stakeholder Simulation Group, participants were divided into groups to represent roles from a specific stakeholder group. A topic was set for each session to guide the discussion.
After four rounds of stakeholder group simulation, then moderator led the external meeting where participants were grouped to represent roles from different stakeholder groups. Different from stakeholder simulation group where all groups wore the hats from the same stakeholder group, external meeting had four groups altogether and it was where discussion sparked glimmers of diversity.
Upon finishing the discussions, participants were invited to give a presentation on importance of youth participation to the stakeholder’s group they represented during external meeting and their personal feelings. During the external meeting and presentation, instant responses were welcomed from the floor.
Summary of discussion
- Issues which reached a common view
All the representatives from four stakeholder groups reached agreement on the importance of education on issues of copyright and piracy.
Speaking from the standpoint of a developing country like most countries in Asia Pacific Region where internet penetration is still low, they expressed their concerns on lack of education on both the above issues and internet usage. The later concern led to further issue of digital divide.
Later addressed by the parents group, they expressed their opinions against education of Internet Governance in high school with reasons that they didn’t have any knowledge in this area and have no reason to support this. This to some extend reflected the current situation where the society is deficient in education on understanding copyright and piracy.
- Issues where opinions varied
With regard to issues on how to balance the protection and freedom on copyright, different groups delivered various concerns.
For example, representatives from the entertainment company, they suggested that they could imitate models from developed countries or regions to provide an online market. This however in the end more or less was constrained by monetary issue. Although Asia Pacific is one of the fast growing regions, a lot of countries are still in developing stage. The concept of paid entertainment may not be received well.
Despite the suggestion of a protected market, representatives from NGOs challenged that with concerns that more protection may led to limitation of creation. Their suggestion toward the problem was to develop a platform where creators and consumers share different rights so that creators can enjoy more and deliver more quality products. According to this, another question yet to be answered was how do we judge whom are the creators and whom are the consumers.
The way forward
Throughout this one-day camp, participants gave full play to their creative thinking. Switching among four different ‘hats’ was not an easy job for those who haven’t touched on the topic before and all the participants had definitely done a great job.
This year, we fully opened the external meeting and presentation to all the guests from APrIGF. Some of them were also invited to join Stakeholder Group Simulations. Many participants were delighted to see the youth participation in APrIGF and encouraged this multi-stakeholder groups’ approach.
With the success of this year’s camp along with Hong Kong and Singapore Camp before, Netmission Ambassadors will continue the work in promoting Internet Governance in Asia Pacific Region.
Although this year’s camp received a lot of positive feedback from both the participants and guests, there is still room for further improvement. Due to time confliction with examination period, this year’s camp is condensed from a three-day to one-day camp. There was no denying that the participants had done a good job in switching the roles. However with comparatively short period of time in each discussion, a deeper understanding was quite hard to achieve. We sincerely hope that next year, the camp would resume to a three-day one.
Imitating multi-stakeholder groups is one good way of approaching the issue. However as suggested by Mr. Chengetai Masango Programme and Technology Manager of UNIGF, youth voices representing themselves are also very valuable to a vibrant and informative discussion.
NET (Networking Opportunity, Empowering Youth, Talent Development) is a model to achieve the mission of youth empowerment in internet governance, ambassadors who have received year-round training and gained oversee conference experience will form a working group to work on community projects like HKYIGF, yIGF, APIGA. We hope these kinds of community works can raise public awareness of what is internet governance.
If you are interested in youth engagement in Internet Governance, please kindly visit our training materials.