Monday, June 06, 2011

Internet should remain as open as possible – UN expert on freedom of expression

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression Frank La Rue warned Friday that fearful Governments are increasingly restricting the flow of information on the Internet due to its potential to mobilize people to challenge the status quo.

“In recent months, we have seen a growing movement of people around the world who are advocating for change – for justice, equality, accountability of the powerful and better respect for human rights,” Mr. La Rue said while presenting his new report* on the right to freedom of opinion and expression on the Internet to the UN Human Rights Council.

“However, the unique features of the Internet, which allow individuals to spread information instantly, to organize themselves, and to inform the world about situations of injustice and inequality, have also created fear among Governments and the powerful,” the expert said.

In his report, Mr. La Rue explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to exercise their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

While noting that the Internet is a relatively new communication medium, the expert stressed the applicability of the international human rights framework when assessing whether Governments are unduly restricting the flow of information online.

Source: United Nations: General Assembly, Human Rights Council

Download full pdf publication | Link to press release

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