Friday, June 3, 2011

G8: New Unjustified Internet Restrictions Would Hamper Free Flow of Information

ARTICLE 19

PRESS RELEASE

May 2011

G8: New Unjustified Internet Restrictions Would Hamper Free Flow of Information
Paris 26.05.2011: ARTICLE 19 is very concerned by apparent efforts by the G8, led by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, to impose tighter controls of the Internet. ARTICLE 19 once again calls on all states, including G8 member states, not to violate their freedom of expression obligations by imposing unjustifiable restrictions on the Internet. They should instead follow the recommendations in the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom expression’s new report, which emphasise the applicability of international human right standards to the Internet.
During his address to the e-G8 Forum in Paris on 24 May 2011 - which included leaders of the world’s most powerful Internet companies but few representatives from civil society - President Sarkozy asserted that there is a “collective responsibility” upon G8 states to forge a global consensus on rules relating to the Internet. He told delegates at the meeting that the internet is not a parallel universe where legal and moral rules do not apply. Previously, he has repeatedly called for the development of a “civilized internet.” According to AFP, the G8 is reported to be developing a statement which will call on states to develop new rules to promote "respect for the rule of law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the protection of intellectual property.”

ARTICLE 19 strongly urges all G8 states to reject any attempt to impose stricter regulations of the Internet. To the contrary, we urge G8 states and other states to fully implement their international human rights obligations on freedom of expression with respect to Internet access according to the UN Special Rapporteur’s specific recommendations,” said Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director.

At this time of heightened debate on Internet-based speech, ARTICLE 19 welcomes the important and timely report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, on the internet and freedom of expression, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on 3 June 2011.

The UN Special Rapporteur expressed “deep concern” about “increasingly sophisticated technologies to block content, monitor and identify activists and critics, criminalisation of legitimate expression, and adoption of restrictive legislation to justify measures,” as well as the lack of transparency surrounding such measures, particularly when they appear to be used to prevent the dissemination of information that is embarrassing to governments.

ARTICLE 19 strongly endorses the UN Special Rapporteur’s recommendations, which stipulate that there should be as “little restriction as possible to flow of information via the Internet, except in a few, exceptional and limited circumstances.”
ENDS

NOTES :
• For media inquiries, please contact Mona Samari, Senior Press Officer, +44 (0) 7515 828 939 mona@article19.org
• For more information, please contact: Sejal Parmar, Senior Legal Officer sejal@article19.org +44 20 7324 2500
• The G8 is meeting in Deauville, France, on 26 and 27 May 2011
• For the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and promotion of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue 16 May 2011 A/HRC/17/27, please click of the following link:
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/reports/report-of-the-special-rapporteur-on-the-promotion-and-protection-of-the-righ.pdf
• For ARTICLE 19’s summary of the key points of the Special Rapporteur’s report, please click on the following link:
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/analysis/summary-report-on-internet-and-freedom-of-expression-the-report-of-the-un-sp.pdf

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