Freedom of Expression on Internet

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UNESCO recognizes that the Internet holds enormous potential for development. It provides an unprecedented volume of resources for information and knowledge and opens up new opportunities for expression and participation. UNESCO assumes its responsibility of promoting freedom of expression on Internet and has integrated it to its regular program. The principle of freedom of expression must apply not only to traditional media but also to the Internet and all types of emerging media platforms which will definitely contribute to development, democracy and dialogue.

With growing access to information in cyberspace, there is a raise of limit of access and information in cyberspace, done by a variety of actors which have diverse goals and values. In addition to Internet’s transborder feature, there are so many factors shaping the level of free expression on Internet, and there exist various policy approaches which have implication on freedom of expression. The real challenge is to fully exploit the potential of new media while not compromising civil liberties, including the right to freedom of expression, to education and also to privacy.

UNESCO seeks to trigger discussion on a wide range of issues related to Internet freedom at global, regional and national levels. UNESCO takes the responsibility to explore the changing legal and regulatory framework of Internet and provide member states with policy recommendations aiming to foster a conducive environment to freedom of expression on the net.

UNESCO has organized a series of workshops in past WSIS Forum and Internet Governance Forum meetings since 2006 to trigger debates on freedom of expression and privacy protection.

UNESCO published a pioneering standard-setting report on Internet freedom titled “Freedom of Connection – Freedom of Expression: The Changing Legal and Regulatory Ecology Shaping the Internet”.

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