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ESCWA Looks to Bolster Arabic Content Online
Source: dailystar.com.lb
Source Date: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Created: Oct 28, 2010

BEIRUT: The United Nations Economics and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said Monday it plans to launch a series of regional forums to bolster Arabic content generation on the internet.

This announcement came at a meeting of a group of ESCWA and League of Arab States (LAS) officials at the UN house in Beirut to unveil “The Regional Roadmap for Internet Governance,” professing an aim to bring stakeholders from various societal sectors into the fold.

A project to create Arabic domain names is said to top the expert group’s agenda.

The meeting comes on the heels of the UN’s fifth Internet Government Forum (IGF) that took place last month.

The IGF seeks to set the course of the World Summit on Information Society, a non-binding body that aims to set global Internet standards.

Debates around internet accessibility, censorship, intellectual property rights and cloud computing formed contentious points of this year’s forum.

According to Internet Watchdog Group Open Net Initiative, internet censorship in the Middle East and North Africa is on the rise, with more countries introducing internet-specific clauses to Publications laws.

The group observes a simultaneous boost in internet infrastructure investments, notably in the UAE and Qatar.

Director of the ICT division at ESCWA Youssef Nusseir kicked off Monday’s meeting with the question: “Who should govern the internet?” Emphasizing that initiatives seek to “manage and not control” the internet, participants on Nusseir’s panel detailed plans to join forces with the Internet Corporation for the Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which it said would handle internet resources and catalyze Arabic content generation.

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