The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency, will soon hold a meeting of world governments to decide whether and how it will regulate the Internet. However, global civil society has had little opportunity to take part in the debate.
So far, however, the Internet has prospered because it is governed by a lightweight and decentralized framework. Participation of civil society, along with the private sector and the technical community, is vital to fostering the Internet’s growth. Indeed, OECD states have reaffirmed the importance of the multistakeholder model for policy development and governance just last year. But the ITU’s structure creates barriers to civil society participation – cost of membership is prohibitively high and ITU documents are only available to members.