Multilingualism on the Internet – Pre 09 2022

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20 June 2022 | 11:15 - 12:45 CEST | SISSA Main Auditorium | Live streaming | Live transcription
Consolidated programme 2022 overview / Day 0

Proposals: #6 #28 (#57)

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Session description

At the start of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032, the question of multilingualism online, especially from the perspective of internet governance, rings louder. While the internet was conceived to be a great equalizer providing unfettered access to information for people worldwide, much of the information available online are in dominant languages, creating gaps in access for indigenous peoples and other minority language users to embrace the full potential of the internet. The session on Multilingualism on the Internet will explore the role of the internet in promoting linguistic diversity. The session will also delve into the issue of multilingualism in the infrastructure of the internet, as well as other barriers that impede a truly multilingual internet. To achieve an equitable Internet, efforts have focused on the language of Domain Name Systems and other hierarchical structures that piece the internet together. But while there is a critical need to address the multilingualism of the internet protocol suite and resolve the problem of the lack of linguistic diversity at its core, what about the other barriers that hinder meaning access to the internet for users of such languages? A truly multilingual Internet is about giving a voice to people in their own languages, which provides them with all the possibilities of participating online, producing knowledge and occupying spaces. The session will thus inquire into the challenges that limit the meaningful participating of non-dominant language users in the internet, while looking look at the role of Europe in facilitating solutions that can bring forth a truly global Internet.


The session will be composed of a brief introduction by speakers after which questions and answers will follow.

Further reading


  • The lack of sociocultural representation for indigenous peoples online
  • Vulnerabilities, including safety among user groups whose languages are not dominant online
  • Technical roadblocks to multilingualism
  • Improved access, usages, production and diffusion of local content
  • Challenges and opportunities to assure the presence and use of Indigenous Languages online


Focal Point

  • Jaco Du Toit, Chief of Universal Access to Information Section, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO

Organising Team (Org Team)

The Org Team is a group of people shaping the session. Org Teams are open and every interested individual can become a member by subscribing to the mailing list.

  • Roberto Gaetano
  • C.A.Afonso
  • Nicolas Fiumarelli
  • Alève Mine
  • Narine Khachatryan
  • Nigel Hickson
  • Fotjon Kosta
  • Alberto Masini
  • Eddie Avila
  • Richard Delmas
  • Rebecca Ryakitimbo

Key Participants

  • Video presentation of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032
  • Nigel Hickson (Adviser on Data Protection, Potters Bar, United Kingdom): Technical roadblocks to multilingualism
  • Richard Delmas (Cofounder of Semantis-Le Monde des Possibles, ONG based in Liege, Belgium, former Official at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg and at the European Commission, Luxembourg and Brussels): Improved access, usages, production and diffusion of local content
  • Amrit Sufi (Researcher and Wikimedia volunteer): Challenges and opportunities to assure the presence and use of Indigenous Languages online
  • Bonface Witaba (Swahili Localization Expert, Centre for Youth Empowerment and Leadership (CYEL) / Digital Agenda for Tanzania Initiative (DA4TI)): Challenges and opportunities to assure the presence and use of Indigenous Languages online


  • Rebecca Ryakitimbo

Remote Moderator

Trained remote moderators will be assigned on the spot by the EuroDIG secretariat to each session.