UNESCO provides feedback on Draft of future International Telecommunication Regulations
Welcoming the invitation extended by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for stakeholders to share views about the Draft of the future International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), UNESCOꞌs Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development has submitted comments about the document.
UNESCO’s position on the Internet flows from the Organization’s constitution which commits it advancing “mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication”, and to promote” the free flow of ideas by word and image”.
A document tabled at the UNESCO Executive Board in 2011, titled “Reflection and analysis by UNESCO on the Internet”, elaborated on these values in regard to online communication possibilities.
It particularly noted that “Knee-jerk responses of censorship, filtering or deletion of content might create ‘collateral damage’ thus affecting freedom of expression, and damaging democracy and good governance.”
The document also added that “a key element of appropriate response is quality education, and information and media literacy”.
UNESCO has long been involved in internet freedom through the World Summit on the Information Society and the Internet Governance Forum. In February 2013, the Organization will host the WSIS+10 Review meeting in Paris, with the theme “Towards Knowledge Societies for Peace and Sustainable Development”.
An in-depth report titled “Freedom of Connection-Freedom of Expression: the Changing Legal and Regulatory Ecology Shaping the Internet” (UNESCO 2011) was developed on the basis of discussions at the 2010 Internet Governance Forum (IGF), providing insight into emerging Internet legislation and policy-making from the point of view of freedom of expression.
Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger, presented UNESCO’s position in September at a conference of the Internet Freedom Coalition in Nairobi, and he will also be a speaker at the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace in October.