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by Adam Peake
During 2004, Internet governance became the focus of global discussion and one of the most contentious issues for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The concept of Internet governance is ill-defined and confusing, and the appropriate roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders are the subject of strong disagreement. In response to a request by WSIS, the UN Secretary General established a working group tasked to look into the various issues related to Internet governance and to develop a common understanding of the different roles of the stakeholders.
As an indication of how quickly ICT priorities can change, a little over a year ago the 2003/2004 edition of Digital Review of Asia Pacific only touched lightly on these issues. However, the authors presciently identified the subject at the heart of the debate today: the lack of representation and participation of developing nations – many of them in Asia Pacific – in international policy forums addressing Internet-related issues.
This chapter introduces the background to the global debate and examines the key policy issues while providing a perspective from the Asia-Pacific region.