The UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights Farida Shaheed made an important speech on internet governance in Geneva earlier in May 2012. She stressed the importance of upholding human rights principles online supporting the call of civil society for democratization of internet governance.

It's great to see UN officials at such a senior level taking up this call, reflecting what contributors and editors have been saying for... well, quite a long time. But I'd like to urge everyone here to not just look at what Farida Shaheed says, but also to take a look at the ways in which you personally and your organisation, if you have one, can and really need to get involved in these debates. If we're calling for greater democratisation of the internet (and we are), it will be pointless unless feminists and activists are willing to take up the challenges that this presents – and for this we don't need to wait for reform of the structures, we can start acting now.

The problem is that the world of internet governance appears to be a big and scary place. Which is why it's great that in APC's recently launched guide to internet governance and gender, there's a paper which tells you (and me!) how we can be involved. Take a look at Avri Doria's paper in this for practical guidelines on how and why you, personally, can take part in internet governance forums. Let's not leave internet governance to other people, let's make sure it reflects our concerns and our issues, that human rights and equality are at the core, and that our voices drown out those of corporate interest and privilege!

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