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UNESCO holds training on Internet Universality Indicators project

By JT - Oct 24,2017 - Last updated at Oct 24,2017

AMMAN — UNESCO on Tuesday held two consultation sessions on the Internet Universality Indicators at the Jordan Media Institute, which saw the attendance of over 20 Internet experts including government officials, private sector representatives, data protection advocates, privacy experts, academia and members of civil society and educational institutions, according to a UNESCO statement. 

UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development Director Guy Berger presented the organisation’s latest project titled “Defining Internet Universality Indicators”. 

The initiative aims to develop indicators for governments and other stakeholders to measure Internet development at the national level and promote the norms and values based on the ROAM principles (Rights, Openness, Accessibility, and Multi-stakeholder participation), the statement said.

Each consultation session focused on two of the four principles, with the first session including government and private sector representatives and focusing on the openness, and accessibility indicators. The second session, which included members of academia, civil society and the media, focused on the rights-based and multi-stakeholder participation indicators.

“The Internet is more and more part of daily life, with huge potential for the sustainable development of our societies,” Berger was quoted in the statement as saying.

 “This is why UNESCO is developing a research tool to map different dimensions, so that stakeholders in a given country can see the big picture and be empowered to make evidence-based decisions about how best to use and govern the Internet.”

The event, the first consultation session in the region, offered Jordanian experts the opportunity to contribute to the definition of a global research tool for voluntarily assessing Internet development within countries, the statement added. 

Baha’ Khasawneh, director general of the National Information Technology Centre, noted that bridging the digital divide, improving digital literacy, and empowerment of women and youth are key issues in Internet accessibility in Jordan. 

“Assessing digital literacy could be measured by assessing the number of people that have been trained, measuring the amount of bandwidth in schools, resources that have been accessed, number of downloads, uploads and how many new subscribers are joining. As for the digital divide, measuring the success is difficult. In our experience, we have measured the numbers we have trained and how many people have returned for training,” he said in the statement. 

“In addition to the four indicators, it may be interesting to add an indicator related to ethics on the Internet, as well as to consider the rights of refugees and the rights of people with disabilities,” Abdullah Ababneh, head of the National Centre for Human Resources Development, was quoted in the statement as saying. 

On the openness indicators, the participants discussed open standards, open source, open access, open data, and open markets. “We are very interested in using the indicators that are developed as part of this project, because it is a gap and it would be very useful to know and apply them,” Khasawneh said.  

The consultations were organised with the contribution of the EU funded and UNESCO implemented “Support to Media in Jordan” project, as part of continued efforts to support an enabling environment for freedom of expression, according to the statement. 

The indicators resulting from this project will not address every aspect of the Internet, but will instead focus on the four R-O-A-M principles and cross-cutting issues including the impact of the Internet on gender issues and on children and young people. 

They will help governments and other stakeholders assess their Internet environments against those principles, the statement read, noting that they will include both quantitative and qualitative indicators, enabling a comprehensive view to be taken of progress in countries with different experiences and different characteristics. 

Special attention will be paid in their development to the gender dimension and the impact of the Internet on children and young people.

 

This event was held as part of UNESCO’s phase 1 consultation to elaborate and draft the first version of Internet Universality indicators by November 2017. The final indicators will be presented in 2018 and will be submitted to the UNESCO Member States of the International Programme for the Development of Communication  for endorsement.

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