26.08.2003 -

Publishers and Librarians Promote Freedom of Expression on the Internet

An international group of librarians and book and journal publishers re-asserted the importance of freedom of expression on the Internet for democracy and creativity, expressing its willingness to further promote and work towards ensuring respect of this fundamental human right in a digital era.

The joint statement on freedom of expression on the Internet was agreed by the Joint Steering Group, established by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the International Publishers Association (IPA), both organizations with formal relations with UNESCO.


The statement urges the international community to support the development of Internet accessibility worldwide, national governments to develop a national information infrastructure delivering broad Internet access and all governments to support the unhindered flow of Internet accessible information and to oppose any attempts to censor or inhibit Freedom of Expression.


Ingrid Parent (IFLA), co-Chair of the IFLA/IPA Steering Group declared: "Technology presents us with the exciting capability to make information more readily available all around the world. But it can also be used to limit access to information. I am pleased that IFLA and IPA are together vigorously promoting freedom of expression on the Internet so that communities and individuals can benefit from the wealth of information that can be made available."


Herman P. Spruijt (IPA), co-Chair of the Steering Group declared: "It is important that people around the world will have unhindered access to the Internet infrastructure. This Internet has already become a powerful tool to disseminate cross border factual information and personal views. It allows individuals to form their independent views and opinions and to seek dialogue with other individuals. The Internet is a forceful instrument to establish free interchange between nations and cultures. Publishers facilitate these processes professionally and consider practices like filtering information and blocking access detrimental to the concept of free flow of information".

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