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Reporters Without Borders: Keep the ICANN Status Quo

September 29, 2009affirmation of commitments, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, joint project agreement, Policy & Law, reporters without bordersComments Off on Reporters Without Borders: Keep the ICANN Status Quo

Press freedom advocate opposed to ICANN governance changes.

Reporters without BordersReporters Without Borders, an organization that pushes for freedom of the press, is urging the U.S. government to keep the status quo of internet governance. In an article on its web site, it suggests not handing any control of ICANN over to other governments.

No one underestimates the risks of maintaining an Internet governance system controlled by a single entity,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. “But, given the current lack of a better solution, we think it would be better not to meddle with this mechanism. The EU proposal to create a sort of Internet G12 strikes us as dangerous. If it were implemented, nothing would stop countries that censor the Internet domestically, such as China, Saudi Arabia and Burma, from doing everything possible to restrict online access at the world level.”

Julliard added: “It is out of the question that governments that prevent their citizens from having unrestricted Internet access should tomorrow become the big shots in a worldwide Internet system. We prefer the current system which, despite its faults and weaknesses, has never threatened the free flow of online information. We therefore urge President Barack Obama not to rush into any decision that could do considerable harm to everyone’s right to unrestricted access to online information. The utmost prudence is required in this matter.

Reporters Without Borders, based in France, may be in for disappointment. The Economist has reported that ICANN is close to a deal with the U.S. government to enter a new phase of governance with more foreign government control.

The current agreement, dubbed the Joint Project Agreement, ends this month. Expect an official announcement on the future of the U.S.-ICANN relationship in the next 48 hours.


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