Who governs the Internet and regional best practices


Who governs the Internet? Is is governments, the United Nations, ICANN, or someone else? Where do people discuss and decide on issues that influence the use and evolution of the Internet? Can a simple Internet user have a say in such discussions and decisions? If you are curious about at least one of these question, this session is the place to be.

Key words

Internet, governance, IG, stakeholders, principles, participation


The introductory session at the Slovenian IGF is aimed at contributing to awareness raising and capacity building on Internet governance related issues. To achieve this aim, the discussions will revolve around few main questions: What is Internet governance (IG)? Who governs the Internet and how? Why and how to participate in IG processes? In trying to answer these questions, the session will be divided in two parts:

  1. Introduction —  Explaining the term ‘Internet governance’ (IG). How and why IG appeared as a term (with reference to the the World Summit on the Information Society, the Working Group on Internet Governance, and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society)? How is IG defined? What issues are usually referred to as IG issues? What are the main categories of actors involved in IG? What are the principles that (should) lay at the foundation of any IG process
  2. Internet governance in practice —  How does IG work at a global, regional, and national level? Who is/should be involved? An overview of the global IG ecosystem will be given, with examples of organisations and processes such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Internet Society (ISOC), and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The discussion will then move to the regional and national level, and will look at aspects such as: IG issues seen as most important at regional/national level; IG mechanisms at regional/national level (management of country code top level domains, public policy making processes, national IGF initiatives) —  with examples of good practices from the region. The importance and relevance of participating in IG processes and organisations (at global, regional, and national level) will also be discussed, with an emphasis on motivation, opportunities, challenges and modalities to overcome them.

Session format

The session will combine interventions from key participants with interactive discussions among all sessions participants. This is intended to be a highly interactive session, so come prepared with questions and comments 🙂

Main roles

Key participants:

  • Aida Mahmutović, Center for Internet Governance / Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Andrea Beccalli, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  • Davor Šoštarič, Institute for Information Science (IZUM), Slovenia
  • Désirée Miloshevic, Internet Society
  • Dušan Stojičević, South Eastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance, Serbia

Moderator: Sorina Teleanu, DiploFoundation, Romania

Rapporteur: Barbara Povše Golob, ARNES, Register.si, Slovenia


  • Internet governance (IG) is mainly about dialogue and co-operation between different stakeholders: the government (or the public sector at large), private sector, civil society, the technical community, and academia, as well as international organisations. All are equally important stakeholders in the dialogue.
  • The Slovenian IGF should bring together all stakeholders and promote dialogue between them; emphasis should be put on building the capacity of civil society, which brings up important issues. Discussions should be shaped in a bottom-up way.
    The government and private sectors should be more open for the dialogue, firstly within their own stakeholder groups, and secondly with other stakeholders.
  • IG policy decisions have a direct or indirect impact on the daily lives of all end users; therefore the IG bottom-up processes should follow the principles of multistakeholderism, inclusiveness and openness, respect for diversity, tolerance, consensus, transparency and accountability.
  • Internet governance is not only about technology, it is mostly about how the technology is used and how it evolves. Technology should be neutral, and technical staff accountable and more open towards policy issues.
  • Main IG issues in Slovenia, as identified by participants, are: net neutrality, cybersecurity, privacy, lack of dialogue between stakeholders, and nonexistence of local Internet community.
    Stakeholders, especially the civil society, have emphasised that continuous discussions between stakeholders are critical. The Slovenian IGF should serve as a platform for dialogue on internet-related issues. The next Slovenian IGF meeting should be organised very soon.