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.
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.
IGF seeks to set the course of the World Summit on Information Society,
a non-binding body that aims to set global Internet standards.
around internet accessibility, censorship, intellectual property rights
and cloud computing formed contentious points of this year’s forum.
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.
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