F8: UNESCO and Internet issues

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Session description

UNESCO Member States during its 38th General Conference in 2015, adopted the strong multi-stakeholder Connecting the Dots Outcome document on Internet-issues as a comprehensive agenda for the Organization's approach to Internet-issues under its mandate, programme and budget. The Outcome Document contains a related list of 38 options for future work in the fields of freedom of expression, access to information and knowledge, ethical dimensions of the internet, and privacy. Titled "Keystones to foster inclusive Knowledge Societies", the report was produced over 18 months of widespread consultation, and amongst its outcomes is the concept of Internet Universality which has been endorsed by the 195 Member States of UNESCO. The Internet Universality concept advocates four ROAM principles: human Rights-based, Open and Accessible Internet governed by Multi- stakeholder participation.

UNESCO has launched 6 editions of its flagship series publications on Internet Freedom since 2009 and present the key outcomes from these studies in a wide range of crucial issues ranging from online freedom of expression, privacy, digital safety to intermediaries liability and Internet governance declarations. The concrete titles include:

  • Freedom of connection, freedom of expression: the changing legal and regulatory ecology shaping the Internet
  • Global survey on internet privacy and freedom of expression
  • Fostering freedom online: the role of Internet intermediaries
  • Building digital safety for journalism: a survey of selected issues
  • Countering online hate speech
  • Principles for governing the Internet: a comparative analysis

On this foundation, a range of new research and other activities is unfolding, cover issues such as indicators for Internet development, protecting source in digital age, balancing transparency and privacy, understanding online radicalisation, the World Summit on the Information Society and the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as encryption and freedom of expression. This session will summarise the work being done, and consult with European stakeholders concerning UNESCO's role in the coming period.

Further reading

People

Moderator: Mr. Frank La Rue, Assistant Director General for Communication and Information of UNESCO

Contact: Xianhong Hu, UNESCO (x.hu@unesco.org)

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