[P2P-F] Global Civil Society launches the Internet Social Forum - A Call To Occupy The Internet

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Thu Jan 22 15:55:28 CET 2015

Global Civil Society launches the Internet Social Forum - A Call To
Occupy The Internet

PRESS RELEASE. Geneva, Switzerland, 22st January, 2015.

A group of civil society organisations from around the world has
announced the Internet Social Forum, to bring together and articulate
bottom-up perspectives on the ‘Internet we want’ and the ‘Web we want’.

Taking inspiration from the World Social Forum, and its clarion call,
‘Another World is possible’, the group seeks to draw urgent attention to
the increasing centralization of the Internet for extraction of monopoly
rents and for socio-political control, asserting that ‘Another Internet
is possible’!

The Internet Social Forum will inter alia offer an alternative to the
World Economic Forum’s ‘Net Mundial Initiative’. While the World
Economic Forum (WEF) and the ‘Net Mundial Initiative’ convene global
elites, the Internet Social Forum will be a participatory and bottom-up
space for all those who believe that the global Internet must evolve in
the public interest; a direct parallel to the launch of the World Social
Forum in 2001 as an counter initiative to the WEF.

The Internet Social Forum will reach out to grassroots groups and social
movements across the world, catalysing a groundswell that challenges the
entrenched elite interests currently controlling how the Internet is
managed. The Internet Social Forum’s preparatory process will kick off
during the World Social Forum to take place in Tunis, March 24th to
28th, 2015. The Internet Social Forum itself is planned to be held
either late 2015 or early 2016.

“While the world’s biggest companies have every right to debate the
future of the Internet, we are concerned that their perspectives should
not drown out those of ordinary Internet users who have no access to the
privileged terrain WEF occupies – in the end it is this wider public
interest that must be paramount in governing the Internet. We are
organising the Internet Social Forum to make sure their voices can’t be
ignored in the corridors of power,” said Norbert Bollow, Co-Coordinator
of the Just Net Coalition, which is one of the groups involved in the

The Internet Social Forum, and its preparatory process, is intended as a
space to build the ‘Internet we want’ and the ‘Web we want’. It will be
underpinned by values of democracy, human rights and social justice. It
will stand for participatory policy making and promote community media.
It will seek an Internet that is decentralized in its architecture and
based on people’s unfettered rights to data, information, knowledge and
other ‘commons’ that the Internet has enabled the world community to
generate and share.

Consistent with Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee’s call for a ‘Magna Carta
for the Internet’, the Internet Social Forum proposes to develop a
People’s Internet Manifesto, through a bottom-up process involving all
concerned social groups and movements, in different areas, from techies
and ICT-for-development actors to media reform groups, democracy
movements and social justice activists.

This year will also see the 10 year high-level review of the World
Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held in New York in
December. As a full-scale review of a major UN summit, this will be a
critical global political event. Since the WSIS, in the early part of
the millennium, the Internet, and what it means socially, has undergone
a paradigm shift. The WSIS witnessed active engagement of civil society
and technical groups as well as of business. However, currently, there
is a risk that this UN-led initiative on governance issues of the
information society and Internet will be sidelined in favour of private,
big-business-dominated initiatives like the WEF’s Net Mundial
Initiative. The Internet Social Forum, while remaining primarily a
people’s forum, will also seek to channel global civil society’s
engagement towards the WSIS +10 review.

The following organisations form the initial group that is proposing the
Internet Social Forum, and many more are expected to join in the
immediate future. This is an open call to progressive groups from all
over the world to join this initiative, and participate in developing a
People’s Internet Manifesto.

Just Net Coalition, Global

P2P Foundation, Global

Transnational Institute, Global

Forum on Communication for Integration of our America, Regional (Latin

Arab NGO Network for Development, Regional

Agencia Latinoamericana de Información, Regional

Alternative Informatics Association, Turkey

Knowledge Commons, India

Open-Root/EUROLINC, France

SLFC.in, India

CODE-IP Trust, Kenya

GodlyGlobal.org, Switzerland

Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and Training, Canada

IT for Change, India

Association for Proper Internet Governance, Switzerland

Computer Professionals Union, Philippines

Free Press, USA

Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, Philippines

Other News, Italy

Free Software Movement of India

Global_Geneva, Switzerland

Solidarius (Solidarity Economy Network), Italy

All India Peoples Science Network, India

Institute for Local Self-Reliance – Community Broadband Networks, USA

Please contact us at secretariat at InternetSocialForum.net for further
information or clarification.

Or the following regional contacts:

Europe Norbert Bollow Email: NorbertB at InternetSocialForum.net

Asia Rishab Bailey Email: RishabB at InternetSocialForum.net

Africa Alex Gakaru Email: AlexG at InternetSocialForum.net

North America Micheal Gurstein Email: MichealG at InternetSocialForum.net

South America Sally Burch Email: SallyB at InternetSocialForum.net

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