The United Nations runs the risk of making Internet censorship the norm. That’s because in the coming years, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), convened by the UN Secretary-General, may be held in authoritarian countries, weites The United Nations runs the risk of making Internet censorship the norm. That’s because in the coming years, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), convened by the UN Secretary-General, may be held in authoritarian countries, writes WIRED.
The IGF is essentially a platform for discussion, and its purpose is advisory rather than regulatory. The IGF allows countries, corporations, organizations and activists to discuss various aspects of the Internet. The first meeting of the forum was held in 2006.
Although the UN has not yet officially announced the host countries for the next two meetings, it is likely that in 2024 the IGF will be held in Saudi Arabia, and in 2025 in Russia.
The fact that next year’s forum will be held in Riyadh was announced by Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha at a forum in Tokyo. This information was also confirmed by a representative of the IGF.
The British human rights organization Article 19, which focuses on the protection and freedom of expression and information around the world, considers this development problematic.
“Their human rights record and their (IGF – ed.) record on digital freedoms should disqualify them from having it,” commented on the possibility of holding the forum in Riyadh.
The fact is that in recent years, Riyadh has been digitally surveilling dissidents and issuing death sentences to citizens who criticize its human rights policy on the Internet.
As for the event in 2025, the aggressor country announced that it would be held in Russia in 2020. However, it is quite clear that Russia has nothing to do with freedom of expression on the Internet and beyond. Therefore, the IGF should not be held in the aggressor country, although anything can be expected from the UN, as the organization has repeatedly discredited itself by whitewashing Russians.