Global Advocacy and Discussions

UNESCO constantly facilitates global debates on freedom of expression and related issues including privacy at each WSIS Forum and Internet Governance Forum. 

Recent discussions show that there is a need to continue tracking an expanded range of policies and regulatory issues of the Internet, and explore the relationships between freedom of expression and other key values and rights. More efforts need to be made in order to promote wider citizens' involvement and corporate responsibility in Internet governance. Representatives of the Internet industry and Member States should work together to ensure transparency, promote a multistakeholder approach and protect freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.

As the increasing popularity of the Internet social networking applications raises new challenges to privacy protection and freedom of expression, UNESCO organized a series of workshops on Privacy and Social Networking at WSIS Forum and IGF.

The discussion focused on how to find applicable standards and legislation, and share good practice on privacy protection. The democratic governance of Internet should aim at protecting users’ right to inform, to leave and to control their personal data. How do we provide a reasonable privacy and security in a computing continuum? How do we promote privacy protection in this same global environment freedom of expression? Many participants called for more education initiatives, such as the use of potential online tools to prevent unexpected results. 

UNESCO views freedom of expression and privacy interdependent as fundamental human rights. The challenge of applying these rights exists in the discrepancy of the legal frameworks between online territory and the real one, given social networking’s transnational diffusion. In consequence, UNESCO will continue to promote international collaboration between governments, private sector and civil society in order to provide a platform to foster dialogue and share expertise among the different actors. 

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