Fiatalok tudósítanak önkéntesen a magyar EU-elnökség óta – Youngsters report voluntary since the Hungarian EU Presidency

2017. november. 22., szerda

Google´s touchdown with freedom of expression in Baku

On day zero of the UN global Internet Governance Forum – IGF2012 Google made a perfect touchdown in Baku. The methods were used, what the big tent can offer. In the middle of the old city centre the Google colorful tent was waiting for its audience. At this night addressing freedom of expression and open Internet in Azerbaijan seemed to be like advancing the ball into the opponent’s end zone. The nicely decorated tent and inviting atmosphere made this tent to the most exclusive location of the town on this evening. In addition as it turned out it was also the hottest and honest debate not just on this evening but concerning the whole IGF2012.

Google´s Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Vinton G. Cerf was giving a special input at the beginning. Vice President Cerf is the father of the design and architecture, how Internet is built up since the beginning, the late 1970s (TCP/IP protocol) organically. With his colleagues he invented the basics for that, they maybe might not even consider to have been created the most important tool of a modern society, not just in business terms but also the way to express ourselves. Basically the free Internet is a place, where we all can also practice our human rights online, not just freedom of expression but right to information, assembly and so on.

After Cerf a short introduction of a video was showed in the tent, which was made 2010 about the freedom of expression online in Azerbaijan, the risks of bloggers and activists may face after becoming too popular or going too far. The guests on stage were blogger Ali Novruzov and youth group leader Rauf Mardiyev. CHECK RECORDED DISCUSSION. The situation just started friendly, but than also pro and contra government voices were made to be heard from the audience, which helped to make the point. Ali was pointing out that Internet freedom as itself in Azerbaijan is supposed to be provided to everyone, is just as it is, not enough.

If you are not sure if you post or write something and what happens to you or people around you afterwards, than it is not fair to claim Internet freedom. Rauf found himself in a more complicated situation as mentioning that there are bloggers in Azerbaijan, who are not or have not been in prison or harmed in any form, yet. He said, that you have to write a better way, not going too far and if people were be ready to follow activists, who address themselves online (blog or any other content such as videos) than this is something, which may cause difficulties and should somehow put aside.

During that, sitting in the audience with my other European youth representatives of Web of Tomorrow is Yours, if you did not recognise yet, that you are in the middle of the big tent and of a bloody heavy discussion than Emin Milli, blogger, activist made you to realize that. He got the micro and asked everyone to check and post his open letter to the President of Azerbaijan on the day 1 of IGF in The Independent, in which he claims that the Internet is not free in Azerbaijan. Emin was in jail just like other activists, and after that he even became so popular internationally, that he can even address these issues back at home, in Baku. Maybe this could be a sign for a change?

The Arab Spring showed which stage is waiting usually for leaders if they try to control, push down the impact of Internet. It is maybe better to realise that they have to be just as collaborative as Internet used to be?! Anyway moderator John Kampfer made a very good job.

Other activists from Azerbaijan, just like Jabbar Salavan had also difficulties and the world also got their stories. Having a 20 second/slide presentation in Stockholm at European IGF (EuroDIG) on the fact, that limitation to freedom of expression in the Council of Europe countries such as (Azerbaijan) are in line with the European Convention on Human Rights, helped me realise how complex these questions can be. If you never read articles of the Convention just like I never did before, it is time to check the presentation.

Shouting in a Google big tent I think this is something that do not happen so often, even the big tent events taking place all around the globe. Just check the video and you will see. We try also to shout and call upon interested users, stakeholders to help to start an Internet Governance dialogue in Hungary too. As it is never too late to discuss open Internet, or even too late as government proposal for blocking Internet, just like in other countries, are on the table. Our group: The Internet Belongs To Everyone – Az Internet Mindenkié


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