10.10.2012 - Communication & Information Sector

UNESCO addressed Budapest Conference on Cyberspace

Graphic poster produced during the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace

Freedom of speech should not be compromised by measures taken in the name of cybersecurity – whether these measures are against cyberfraud or cyberwarfare. This was the message delivered by Guy Berger, UNESCO’s Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, at the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace on 4 and 5 October 2012.

The Conference was convened by the government of Hungary. It followed the 2011 London Conference and built on 2001 Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

UNESCO’s input at the Conference stressed the importance for cyber security measures to following international standards concerning policies and practices that could limit freedom of expression.

“These standards place strong conditions about transparence, predictability, legitimate purposes and due process, on any limitations of freedom of speech. Only by following these standards can we confine the limitations to the narrowest range and avoid both arbitrary and hidden violations,” said Berger.

He proposed that abuses of freedom of speech were less a global problem than threats to freedom of speech, such as the killings of more than 500 journalists in the past ten years. “Cybersecurity and trust can only be built on a world where all persons are free to express themselves without fear,” he said.

UNESCO believed that a paradigm of preparedness needed to complement a paradigm of protection about content in cyberspace, hence the Organization worked with national departments of education to train teachers in delivering courses to scholars in media and information literacy.

The speech by Guy Berger is available here.

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