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Aleksandr Ignatov1
  • 1 RANEPA, 11 Prechistenskaya Naberezhnaya, office 403, Moscow, Russia, 119034

The BRICS Agenda on the Internet Governance

2022. Vol. 17. No. 2. P. 86–109 [issue contents]
The key features of the modern Internet governance system are its decentralized structure, inhomogeneous internal “geography,” and the diverse nature of its decision-making actors. These factors determine the complexity of the decision-making process on Internet governance-related issues. Under these conditions, the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa is viewed as a suitable platform to establish a common ground and align the interests of the participating countries on five key spheres of Internet governance: infrastructure development, legal matters, economic issues, development, and social and cultural perspectives. The goal of this article is to study BRICS’ approach to Internet governance. The study presents an analysis of the BRICS countries’ priorities regarding Internet governance and incorporates a panel data on BRICS’ commitments and decisions regarding the issue. Several conclusions on the BRICS approach to Internet governance were drawn: the most prominent sphere for BRICS cooperation is digital infrastructure development; considerable discrepancies exist among the BRICS states regarding managing Internet content that contribute to a lack of concrete decisions on social and cultural aspects of Internet governance; there is a step-by-step convergence of the BRICS counterterrorism and counter-extremism agenda with a broader issue of cybersecurity. The author assumes that the infrastructure component dominates the BRICS Internet governance discussion due to China’s influence, which gives it the potential to be one of the key players and agenda-setters within the BRICS, along with Russia. Steady incorporation of the counterterrorism and counter-extremism agenda into the cybersecurity discussion is strongly supported by Russia, in keeping with its declared national priorities regarding Internet governance. In the author’s opinion, it would be problematic for the BRICS to reach a collective decision regarding Internet content governance given the conflict of interests among the participating countries revealed by this analysis. 

The article was written on the basis of the RANEPA state assignment research programme

Citation: Ignatov A. (2022) The BRICS Agenda on the Internet Governance, International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 17, no 2, pp. 86-109 (in English).
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