Governor Michael Meehan represented the BBG as he joined high-level communications experts and journalists in Brussels to attend a May 29 panel discussion hosted by Deutsche Welle (DW) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on the topic of Internet censorship. “Mission Impossible – the Internet without Borders?” was moderated by Patrick Leutsch, the head of Deutsche Welle Akademie’s International Cooperation Division who prompted panelists to debate questions ranging from the philosophical (“Should anyone regulate the internet?), to the practical (“How can I keep my kids from seeing pornography?), to the political (“Who should, or could, create policy for internet governance?).
Panelists included William Echikson, Google’s Head of Free Expression for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament for the Dutch Democratic Party, and Matthias Spielkamp, Member of the Board of Directors of Reporters Without Borders.
Earlier in the day at DW’s studio, BBG’s Office of Technology, Services and Innovation Director, Andre Mendes and Libby Liu, President of Radio Free Asia, led a private workshop for senior leadership of the DG5 to explore joint efforts to expand the work of BBG’s Internet Anti-Censorship Program and Radio Free Asia’s Open Technology Fund (OTF). Dan Meredith, Director of RFA’s OTF program, discussed ways to support global internet freedom efforts through engaging technologists within their circles, raising awareness for policy decision makers, joint funding of projects relevant to shared priority markets and using existing infrastructure to further the impact and reach of this work.
Workshop participants shared information about resources including real-time censorship monitoring; content sharing efforts; tools for journalists, sources and citizen journalists; and analysis on censorship (and anti-censorship) activities in countries including China, Iran, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Syria and Vietnam.