Organisations & initiatives

Organisations & initiatives working on Internet Governance. (Featured in alphabetical order)

Access Now is an international non-profit, human rights, public policy, and advocacy group dedicated to an open and free Internet. Access Now hosts the RightsCon Summit Series each year, and also initiated the #KeepItOn campaign against Internet shutdowns.

They also produce reports and briefings, such as the following resource:

  • 26 recommendations on content governance: A guide for lawmakers, regulators, and company policy makers

  • Access Now Position Paper: Understanding the “Right to be Forgotten” Globally

  • Human Rights in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

  • Proposals for Regulating Internet Apps and Services: Understanding the Digital Rights Impact of the “over-the-top” (OTT) Debate

  • Transparency Reporting Index

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network of organizations that was founded in 1990 to provide communication infrastructure, including Internet-based applications, to groups and individuals who work for peace, gender equality, human rights, protection of the environment, and sustainability.

They have multiple publications and other resources relevant to journalists and media development organizations such as:

The Broadband Commission on Sustainable Development – a joint International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and UNESCO venture that publishes an annual report titled “The State of Broadband

The Council of Europe produces many relevant resources on Internet freedom, freedom of expression, algorithm transparency, and more.

They also host specialised working groups, such as:

MSI-JOQ – Committee of Experts on Quality Journalism in the Digital Age

  • Draft recommendation on promoting a favourable environment for quality journalism in the digital age

  • Draft study on media and information literacy in the digital environment

MSI-AUT – Committee of Experts on Human Rights Dimensions of Automated Data Processing and Different Forms of Artificial Intelligence

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also advocates for Internet freedom.

DiploFoundation is a non-profit foundation established by the governments of Malta and Switzerland. Diplo works to increase the role of small and developing states, and to improve global governance and international policy development.

One of its initiatives, the GIP Digital Watch observatory, is a comprehensive Internet governance and digital policy observatory that provides monthly updates about digital policy as well as tracks issues and policy developments. Some of their resources include:

Freedom House has multiple resources relevant to Internet freedom, including:

The Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNET) is an international association of academic researchers.

Members include researchers from a wide range of disciplines and locations who are contributing to research, teaching, and engagement in local, regional, and international debates on Internet governance.

Global Network Initiative (GNI)

Launched in 2008, the Global Network Initiative (GNI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that helps companies respect freedom of expression and privacy rights when faced with government pressure to hand over user data, remove content, or restrict communications.

For more information, see the GNI Principles and their Country Legal Frameworks Resource (CLFR). GFMD became an official member of GNI in June 2019.

Additional resources include:

  • Content Regulation and Human Rights: Analysis and Recommendations (briefing)

Global Partners Digital (GPD)

Global Partners Digital (GPD) is a social purpose company working to protect and promote human rights values online, and the governance processes that uphold and further these values. Their two main priorities are to grow the number of civil society groups engaging in the internet policy and governance arena, and to make governments, public authorities, international institutions, and businesses aware of the benefits of internet policies and governance processes that promote and protect human rights. Relevant resources include:

  • A Rights-respecting Model of Online Content Regulation by Platforms

  • Content regulation laws threaten our freedom of expression. We need a new approach

  • Framework for Multistakeholder Cyber Policy Development

  • GPD’s Organisational Development Framework

  • GPD’s response to David Kaye’s report on platform content regulation

  • GPD’s response to the UK’s Online Harms White Paper

  • How to Engage in Cyber Policy video series

  • Some thoughts on the updated UN Resolution on Human Rights and the Internet

  • Travel Guide to the Digital World: Cybersecurity Policy for Human Rights Defenders

  • World Map of Encryption


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the organisation responsible for operating the Domain Name System (DNS), which is essentially the equivalent of the Internet’s phone book – holding the registry of all Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and domain names. It is governed by an international, multi-stakeholder community. ICANN holds three meetings each year, rotating among the different regions. For more information, see the following resources:

  • Apply for the ICANN Fellowship program if you’d like to be introduced to ICANN and want to take part in its work

  • ICANNWiki – A non-profit organisation dedicated to providing a community-developed wiki on ICANN and Internet governance

  • Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) list of stakeholder groups and constituencies

  • GNSO document archive

  • GNSO Projects List – a compilation of all active and/or open projects within the GNSO

  • Join a group or constituency, such as the Non-Commercial Stakeholders’ Group (NCSG)

  • Join a working group – e.g., the Middle East and Adjoining Countries Strategy Working Group (MEAC-SWG)

  • Learn about how to write ICANN policy via the Noncommercial User’s Constituency’s (NCUC) Policy Writing Course

  • Participate in meetings remotely

  • Read the ICANN beginners guide

  • Submit a public comment

  • Visit ICANN Learn and take a free course

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a professional body that primarily works at the physical (infrastructure) layer of the Internet. It develops international standards for modern telecommunications and ICT hardware, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and is a key area of engagement vis-à-vis strengthening Wi-Fi security standards.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has multiple Internet governance-related resources, including:

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations body responsible for global radio spectrum and satellite orbit management. Working primarily at both the physical (infrastructure) and logical (protocols, standards, and applications) layers, it also develops certain technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect. Additionally, it works to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide. Key resources include:

  • Radio spectrum management

  • Reports from the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a key organization involved in the development of technical standards and protocols – the basic traffic rules of the Internet that define how information travels across the network, and who can connect to whom and to what content. Housed within the Internet Society, the work of IETF encompasses protocols that range from Internet Protocol (IP), the basic language that enables two devices to communicate, to applications like email.

The Internet Governance Caucus (IGC) is a civil society network on Internet governance and Internet rights. It offers an open space where each group can present and advocate for the initiatives that they believe offer the best positive agenda for advancing broadly shared civil society interests in Internet governance. Participate by signing up for their mailing list.

The Internet Governance Project (IGP) is a leading source of independent analysis of global Internet governance. It is comprised of a group of professors, postdoctoral researchers, and students hosted at the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. For more information, see the IGP guide to Internet governance.

Internet Society (ISOC)

The Internet Society (ISOC) is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, access, and policy.

It features chapters all over the world, and ISOC members are involved in every aspect of Internet governance. Some of their resources include:

The Media and Development Forum (Forum Medien und Entwicklung – FoME) is a network of German institutions and individuals active in the field of media development cooperation. In addition to hosting an annual Symposium, they also feature many relevant resources and publications. You can also join their mailing list.

Mozilla is a non-profit technology organisation that is also heavily invested in digital policy discussions and protecting human rights online. In addition to creating technology like code, apps, and the Firefox browser, Mozilla also engages in policy development, advocacy, and curates resources like the annual Internet Health Report and related toolkits.

Human Rights & The Internet (HRI) is a special section of openDemocracy focusing on various technology-related rights issues.

The Open Internet for Democracy project is a collaborative initiative by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA).

It is endeavoring to build a network of open Internet advocates who champion the democratic values and principles that should guide the future development of the Internet.

  • Apply to be an Open Internet Leader

  • Democratic Principles for an Open Internet

Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) works to promote freedom of expression and privacy on the internet by creating global standards and incentives for companies to respect and protect users’ rights.

They fulfill their mission primarily by publishing the RDR Corporate Accountability Index, which evaluates the world’s most powerful Internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies’ disclosed policies and practices affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders (RWB), or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), is based in Paris, France, and promotes and defends the freedom to be informed and to inform others throughout the world. They have multiple publications, and also produce the annual World Press Freedom Index. Other resources include:

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University publishes an annual Digital News Report, which tracks digital news consumption across countries, and provides timely data and analysis for industry, regulators, and academia.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has multiple resources that pertain to Internet freedom, freedom of expression, and more. They include:

Established in 2009 by the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web Foundation seeks to advance the open web as a public good and a basic right.

They offer multiple resources such as research, as well as initiatives and projects including:

  • Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) – Working to make Internet access more affordable and inclusive. A key resource they public is the annual Affordability Report

  • Contract for the Web

  • Open Data Barometer – It measures the prevalence and impact of open data initiatives around the world

  • Open Data Charter – Guides and supports governments as they implement shared open data principles, standards and best practices

  • Open Data Labs – Employs a combination of research, incubation, training, and engagement to ensure that open data is used to address practical problems in developing and emerging economies

  • Web Index – The first measure of the web’s contribution to social, economic, and political progress, studying 86 countries across the world

  • Web We Want – a global coalition working to defend, claim, and change the future of the Web

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