“While the Internet is empowering individuals more than ever, there is an increase globally in content filtering and censorship,” this is one of key messages from the launching ceremony of the UNESCO publication, Freedom of Connection – Freedom of Expression: The Changing Legal and Regulatory Ecology Shaping the Internet.
Professor [William] Dutton [a co-author of the report and Director, Oxford Internet Institute] highlighted in his presentation [on May 30th] that this UNESCO-commissioned research provides a new perspective on the social and political dynamics behind the threats to expression. Through a meta-analysis of Internet filtering studies, the book shows that there is a rising level of censorship and filtering. Nevertheless, he argued against focusing too narrowly on Internet content filtering. His framework on the “ecology of freedom of expression” suggests a broader focus on six interrelated arenas that are shaping freedom of expression:
- technical initiatives, related to connection and disconnection;
- digital rights, including those tied directly to freedom of expression and censorship;
- industrial policy and regulation, including intellectual property, industrial strategies, and ICTs for development;
- measures focused on fraud, child protection, decency, libel and control of hate speech;
- network policy and practices, including standards related to identity, and regulation of Internet service providers; and
- security, ranging from controlling spam and viruses to protecting national security.
Direct to the Full Text Report (105 pages; PDF)