Sara Kianpour from our ONE France office reports live from the G8 in Paris.
During two days, the French capital was the world capital of the Internet. The e-G8 gathered the web elite –- from Google’s Eric Schmidt to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Rupert Murdoch — in the Tuileries Park. Their objective? Discuss the web economy and changes happening.
For the first time, a discussion about the Internet has been put on the agenda before the G8 in Deauville that starts today.
At first, ONE welcomed the concept of such a meeting. We have all been witnessing the key role that the Internet played, in particular during the recent Arab revolutions. The web is an effective means to enforce rule of law, to increase transparency and to end poverty.
Improving Internet access and mobile connectivity in developing countries can allow farmers to consult market prices on their mobile phones, pupils and teachers to do distance learning or civil society to use social networks to fight against electoral fraud or corruption.
But unfortunately, these questions have been relegated to the second row, giving way to the predominance of the usual preoccupations: economic growth (ours), protection of children (ours), copyright (ours), etc.
This meeting could have been a historic moment for the people from the developing world, but we are far from there!
Despite this, an interesting conclusion on governance merits attention though: neither governments nor entrepreneurs nor civil society will be able to resolve the challenges of good governance on their own.
At ONE, we believe that we urgently need a new partnership: web companies, states and civil society should commit to work hand-in-hand in order to end censorship.
The two days of debate have ended without any agreement on concrete actions. The so-called leaders of the Internet are content with a simple state of play that will be presented at the G8 today and tomorrow. One can only hope for the leaders of the richest countries on earth to finally act: as long as the most marginalized are forgotten, the promise of the Internet will be unfulfilled.
Video and photo courtesy of e-G8.