[bestbits] [governance] Civil society transparency

Norbert Bollow nb at bollow.ch
Mon Jun 1 16:16:22 EDT 2015

On Mon, 1 Jun 2015 09:36:49 -0700
Jeremy Malcolm <jmalcolm at eff.org> wrote:

> On 01/06/2015, at 3:29 AM, Norbert Bollow wrote:
> > the IFHR program saw it as an opportunity to convene
> > with many Internet governance and Internet rights NGOs at once.
> > They did so a few days before the start of the IGF, in a large
> > gathering called Best Bits.(*)
> > ...
> > If in spite of all of the above, you still believe that your claim
> > is defensible that "there was and is never any such capacity
> > building program behind Best Bits", please arrange for disclosure
> > of the true facts about the role and activities of the IFHR program
> > in relation to Bestbits, which would in that case have been
> > misunderstood by the researchers, and explain how that
> > misunderstanding would have come about.
> I don't know anything about that program, since it is not my
> programme, and neither was it ever discussed or considered by the
> Best Bits steering committee.  The organisation that I was working
> for at the time had its own programme, with its own funders, that
> intersected with the Best Bits meeting to some extent.  So did many
> other participants, including Global Partners of course.

Of course, Global Partners were not just any participant.  Andrew
Puddephatt und Gene Kimmelman, who according to the research paper were
quite central people in the IFHR program, were quite centrally involved
in running the initial Bestbits meeting.

> If any of
> them wanted to report *their participation in* the Best Bits meeting
> to their funders as an outcome or their programme, that's their
> business.

Sure. But the research paper talks about the convening of the Bestbits
meeting, not just about someone's participation.

> PS. I'm not going to debate this on-list with you any further.

In a separate message, Andrew Puddephatt wrote: "On the question of
funding of the BB meeting in Baku, the only specific funding earmarked
for this meeting was a grant from Google which was distributed to
participants from the global south. Our participation as GPA was
supported by the Ford Foundation as has been our subsequent BB activity.
My last post on the subject."

In view of this concert of postings which implicitly declare intentions
to not post anything about the IFHR program and its relevance (or
non-relevance) to the initial Bestbits meeting, and since therefore
Jeremy's claim "there was and is never any such capacity building
program behind Best Bits" is not going to be defended, I'm going to
continue believing that the research paper is correct and that Jeremy's
claim is therefore false.

Consequently I'll continue to be of the opinion that the role of the
IFHR program in convening and leading the initial Bestbits meeting, as
well as the goals and funders of the IFHR program, should really have
been disclosed, and that in fact it is quite scandalous that this did
not happen.


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