This is a transcript from a series of video interviews designed to assess major issues tied to the diffusion of the internet. It is the record of one of many interviews conducted in 2006 with international internet stakeholders from 18 different nations at the world’s first Internet Governance Forum in Athens, Greece. The Athens IGF was the first of five annual global events administrated by the UN to focus on discussion of the overarching issues tied to the future of information and communications technologies. More than 1,200 participants shared information, experiences and best practices.
Nityesh Bhatt – Associate Professor, Ph.D. in e-governance, Pacific Institute of Management. In addition to his teaching, he has a research consultancy and he conducts training in technology policy for corporations. Based in Udaipur, India.
Q: Who are you with and why did they send you to IGF?
A: I am from India. I am an associate professor working with the Pacific Institute of Management, affiliated with one of the universities. Here I’m the delegate member of one of the nonprofit organizations [DiploFoundation]. The basic purpose for coming here is that after pursuing an Internet governance capacity-building program for the foundation I wanted a fellowship, to come here and interact with other members, to learn something more about Internet governance here by learning from who’s who of different bodies and countries and to strengthen the ties of working with other people.
Q: What have you learned so far at IGF?
A: Yesterday the inaugural session was there and we heard the prime minister of Greece and the ministers and again I’m saying the who’s who and we are learning not only the past and present, but also the future as well of all the possibilities.
Q: Do you think it is possible to “govern” the Internet?
A: Yeah it’s possible. Although at present, it seems a bit difficult but then I think that it is the time that the Internet should be governed. Looking into the security problems, looking into the issues related to safety it is highly essential because the world is addressing the alarming problem of digital divide and especially looking into problems of developing problems I think it is a highly essential tool to have this Internet governance.
Q: Who should control the “governance” of the Internet?
A: I don’t feel there is any need to control the governance but then, yeah, we really must involve multiple stakeholders because the Internet is multi-stakeholder, so it should not be only the agencies who are at the apex like ICANN and ITU and IGF of the United Nations. Of course IGF is playing a great role, but then of course there should be a participatory one with rules of not only these agencies but also civil societies and academic institutions. I think that everybody has to play a great role. I feel a transition is required from assigning this responsibility only to these apex organizations like ITU and IGF and ICANN – it means each and every individual and agency has to play some role. I can, I will do that. And not only when I am saying I can, it means every agency and stakeholder has a different perspective towards what internet is and what it should be, but when I am saying I can that means I should not only indulge into constructive and productive discussion but also should sacrifice and give up my own views on what Internet governance should be.
Q: So you think we should sacrifice our own domestic views of what the Internet should be?
A: Something which is a dogmatic and in the larger interest for the Internet and the global society.
Q: How would you ask governments to conciliate their cultural beliefs and political stances for the greater good?
A: It would take some time and some diplomatic pressures and such kind of international forums I think can make a difference. The first stage is that we’re to understand and become available to such kind of censorships so the very first stage towards any kind of transitional change is awareness.
Q: What is your greatest hope for the future of the Internet?
A: I feel the biggest concern of the entire Internet community is the accessibility. The larger the accessibility the better will be the future of the Internet. That is like we are listening from yesterday itself that five billion people or more don’t have access to internet and I think that should be the biggest concern and the one billion people to whom it is accessible I think it should be safety.
Q: What is your greatest fear for the future of the Internet?
A: There may be a lot of skepticism about the Internet but I think that we should not look into the fears; we should look into the more productive and other aspects of it because in any kind of development there are a lot of different kinds of challenges but then if people are really optimistic about things, I think things will be better. I think security and safety are the biggest problem I suppose, and united we stand. I think together everyone has to do it.
Q: What one key thing would you ask policy makers to do to ensure a positive future for network technology?
A: People should leave their own vested interest and think for the success of the development.
Q: Describe the future impact of the Internet in one word.
This video transcript is offered for use under a Creative Commons Noncommercial License allowing no derivative works. Executive producers, Erin Barnett and Janna Quitney Anderson; chief engineer, Bryan Baker; videographers, Barnett and Baker; editor, Barnett.