30.10.2002 -

Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace

Freedom of expression on the internet will be the subject of an international symposium held as part of the preparation for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that will take place in Geneva and Tunis in 2003 and 2005 respectively.

The symposium, "Freedom of Expression in the Information Society", (at UNESCO Headquarters November 15 and 16) is the only event in the series of meetings held to prepare the WSIS that will address urgent questions pertaining to freedom of expression on the internet. Organized by the French National Commission for UNESCO with UNESCO, the meeting will feature three roundtable debates:

 

The first roundtable, "Does cyberspace offer new opportunities?", will feature presentations about the exercise of freedom of expression in cyberspace, the development of participative democracy thanks to the new information and communication technologies; cultural and linguistic diversity and creativity on the internet.

 

"Are there obstacles to overcome?" will be the subject of the second roundtable which will examine limits set to freedom of expression in cyberspace, be they in the form of censorship, technical, economic or language barriers.

 

The third roundtable will pose the question: "Is the definition of standards necessary?" Looking at issues connected to human dignity, children's rights, privacy and human rights in general, participants will consider whether international standards should be defined and, if so, by whom and at what level.

 

Marcio Barbosa, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, will open the meeting (Friday, November 15 at 9.30 a.m.). Jean-Jacques Aillagon, the France's Minister of Culture and Communication, will then take the floor, followed by the President of the French National Commission for UNESCO, Jean Favier. Roger Dehaybe, General Administrator of the Agence intergouvernementale de la francophonie, which has lent its support to the Symposium, and Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, President of the French association Internet Rights Forum, which managed the preparatory on-line discussion forum for event, will also speak at the opening session.




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