Federal Councillor Sommaruga calls for sustainable and socially responsible digitalisation at the UN Internet Governance Forum

Biel/Bienne, 06.12.2021 - The 16th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) opened on 6 December in the Polish city of Katowice. This year, the world's largest UN conference on internet governance issues is taking place in hybrid form. Switzerland actively advocates establishing sensible rules for the digital world and, in a partnership with the Museum of Communication, shows that digitalisation must also become more sustainable.

Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga gave a video message at the high-level discussion on the role of digital platforms, in which she stressed that the internet should not be a lawless realm: "We need to promote cooperation between all actors and develop governance principles to maintain a free, secure and democratic digital space." Ms Sommaruga expressed her concern about the increasing spread of hate speech and disinformation and called on internet platforms to assume responsibility in ensuring that public communication functions well. In particular, she called for transparency in how content is controlled and in the use of algorithms, and for appropriate procedural standards.

The Swiss delegation attending the IGF in Katowice is led by Bernard Maissen, Director of the Federal Office of Communications OFCOM. During the conference, Switzerland will take active part in debates on various aspects of internet governance, such as digital sovereignty and self-determination, the interplay between digital innovation and a sustainable environment, and cybersecurity. The Swiss Embassy in Poland, in cooperation with the Museum of Communication in Bern, is also organising an interactive session on e-waste. The IGF runs until 10 December. Virtual and physical participation in the IGF is open to all interested parties.

Switzerland has supported the IGF conceptually and financially since its launch in 2006 and has contributed significantly to its development as a global multi-stakeholder process. OFCOM coordinates Switzerland's representation at the regional and national branches of the IGF. The next Swiss IGF will take place on 2 June 2022.

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