By Catherine Easton
The 7th European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) took place in Berlin in June 2014. The event’s overarching aim is to provide an open arena for inclusive dialogue between European stakeholders in order to develop best practice and raise awareness. So, how far did it go towards achieving its remit?
The German Federal Foreign Office provided the venue which, while impressive, may not have been the most conducive environment for relaxed, informal discussions. The divide between the conventional schedule and the energy of grassroots activism was very quickly demonstrated in glaringly stark terms through a dignified, powerful show of support for Snowden during the Federal Foreign Minister’s welcome address. The very next session in this “inclusive dialogue” was an open plenary with a sweepingly non-diverse membership of men in suits. This “manel” attracted a large amount of criticism both in the audience and on Twitter, and, again, showed a basic gap between the multistakeholderism repeatedly referred to by the panel and the reality of the power balance in a high-profile event.