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Sexual Rights, Openness and Regulatory Systems

by Prasad Krishna last modified Apr 05, 2011 03:59 AM
The Centre for Internet and Society is co-organising a workshop on Sexual Rights, Openness and Regulatory Systems at the Internet Governance Forum on 14 September, 2010.

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Sep 14, 2010
from 06:00 AM to 08:00 AM



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Content regulation remains remains a critical area where competing rights and interests are played out. Within this, sexuality and sexual rights lie at the centre of the debate. Protection from the "harm" of pornography and other sexually related content are often the principal reason forwarded for regulating content. At the same time, the internet is a critical space for the exercise and realisation of sexual rights, especially by people who have less access to power and resources, such as migrants, sex workers, differently abled communities, young women etc. In recent years, internet content regulation has increasingly become more of a norm than an exception. Despite the slippery definitions of 'obscene', 'illegal' and 'harmful' content, governments, the private sector and civil society are shaping and implementing regulatory mechanisms, sometimes in partnership with each other.

To what extent has it worked to protect the rights of all users, particularly those that such regulations assert their protection over, such as internet users, young people and women? What can be some of the indicators to monitor and measure to what extent the internet is 'open', especially in relation to sexual rights? What happens when regulation works to instead compromise or infringe on users' sexual rights, including the right to access information, communicate, share knowledge, build communities, exercise control over their personal data, embodiment and spaces? What are some of the mechanisms of redress - both formal and informal - within existing regulatory systems, and how far are they able to respond to these issues? What is needed to ensure that transparency, accountability and a rights-based framework - principles that last year's IGF workshop participants agreed were key - are built into them?

Drawing from current research initiatives in this area, this workshop aims to facilitate an open dialogue and exchange of ideas, knowledge and best practices to respond to some of the questions above. Research papers will also be commissioned to investigate some of the key questions raised above to initiate debate and discussion prior to IGF, which will be shared at the workshop.

Which of the five broad IGF Themes or the Cross-Cutting Priorities does your workshop fall under?
Security, Openness and Privacy

Have you organized an IGF workshop before? Yes
If so, please provide the link to the report: (2006); (2007);
chronoformname=Workshopsreports2009View&curr=1&wr=93 (2

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite:

  • Nadine Moawad, Founder, Take Back The Tech Arabia; Project Leader, EROTICS - Lebanon
  • Dorothy Atwood, Vice President - Public Policy, and the Chief Privacy Officer of the telecommunications company AT&T, USA
  • Joy Liddicoat, human rights lawyer and Commissioner with the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
  • Clarissa Smith, Member of the Onscenity Research Network; Programme Leader, MA Media and Cultural Studies and MA Film & Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland, UK.

There are no panelists biographies associated to this workshop at the moment.

Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups:
Association for Progressive Communications, Women's Networking Support Programme
Centre for Internet and Society
Alternative Law Forum

Organization:Association for Progressive Communications, Women's Networking Support Programme

Contact Person: Jac sm Kee


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