04 Dec 2013 ICTs, international standards and freedom of expression
“The internet and new information communication technologies (ICTs) are now an integral part of everyday life for many people around the world. ICTs are giving more and more people a voice and are improving openness and public debate in the society,” according to a new report by ARTICLE 19.
And yet, “International jurisprudence and the adoption of legally binding international human rights instruments on the freedom of expression in the context of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) has been slow compared to the speed at which the internet has spread and developed.”
In 2011 Dunja Mijatović, the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) called on governments to treat Internet access as a human right that should be enshrined in their constitutions. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Frank LaRue, has also expressed concern that more and more states are trying to increase their grip on the flow of information and data and the capacity of people to express themselves online.
ARTICLE 19 argues that the right to freedom of expression was not designed to fit any particular medium or technology. Regardless of whether it is exercised online or offline, it is an internationally protected right to which almost all countries of the world have committed themselves.
The new report provides an overview of the main international standards relevant to the protection of the right to freedom of expression in relation to ICTs. It identifies international and regional standards for the protection of key areas of concern, in particular access to the internet and controlling access to online content, content regulation, the rights of citizen journalists and bloggers, access to information and ICTs and the regulatory framework of the internet.
It is intended as a resource for anyone with an interest in promoting the realization of the right to freedom of expression on the internet, such as journalists, public officials, judges, lawyers and civil society campaigners.
Freedom of expression and ICTs: Overview of international standards can be found here.