Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has asked stakeholders in the Nigerian telecom industry, as well as the general public to contribute in the development of a code of practice in support of an open internet.
NCC said the establishment of internet industry code of practice is part of its Internet Governance function, but says it favours a multi-stakeholder model of engagement in the process of policy development for the Internet Governance.
“Extensive consultation of stakeholders is crucial to the success of developing a code of practice in support of an open internet,” the commission said in a statement.
Already, the commission has identified key stakeholders. They include all Internet Service Providers in Nigeria, relevant associations (ISPAN, CPN, ATCON, ALTON, GSMA, Nigerian Computer Society, Nigerian Internet Governance Forum and several Government Ministries, Agencies, and Departments (NCC, NITDA, NiRA, NBC, CBN, Ministry of Communication, etc.)
Others are security agencies (NPF, EFCC, ICPC, NSA; interested multinationals (Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle; academia and the general public.
Stakeholders are expected to submit their input (comments, concerns, feedback, and suggestions for scope and content) via an Online Public Consultation Portal provided by the commission: http://www.ncc.gov.ng/internet-code-of-practice-consultation
The input submitted will be taken into consideration in the drafting of the Internet Industry Code of Conduct.
According to NCC, the proposed Code of Practice seeks, among other things, to protect the rights and interests of Internet Service Providers and consumers; provide jointly agreed and effective solutions to the issues of discriminatory traffic management practices and ensure adequate safeguards are put in place by service providers against abuses such as unsolicited messages.
The proposed Code of Practice will also outline the obligations of Service Providers in relation to offensive and potentially harmful content for minors and vulnerable audiences; promote the safe, secure and responsible use of Internet Services with due regard to provisions in existing legal instruments; establish best practices for Internet Governance in Nigeria, in line with emerging issues and global trends; provide transparent rules for the assessment and classification of Internet content and increase stakeholder satisfaction through improved consumer experience online.
NCC has also given assurance that a draft of the Internet Industry Code of Practice will be made available to stakeholders for feedback and change requests when ready, disclosing that stakeholders will be invited to a presentation of the draft at a special Stakeholder Consultation Workshop where they will be expected to critique and suggest improvements to the draft.
It added that stakeholders will also be able to submit their critiques and suggestions via the Online Public Consultation Portal up until the final draft of the code is produced. Feedback received from key stakeholders via the Online Public Consultation Portal as well as during the Stakeholder Consultation Workshop will be factored into the transitioning of the draft into the final code of practice.