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IFEX members call on Brazil's President to protect Internet rights

President Dilma Roussef addresses the United Nations
President Dilma Roussef addresses the United Nations

AP Photo/Andrew Burton

The following is a joint appeal to Brazil's President Roussef, orginated by ARTICLE 19's South America office in Brazil, which was signed by 33 IFEX members:

IFEX members call on Brazil's President Roussef to protect Internet rights and free expression

The undersigned members of IFEX, the global network defending and promoting free expression, applaud Brazilian President Dilma Roussef for affirming recently that states must protect freedom of expression, privacy of individuals and respect for human rights online.

The President made the commitment during her opening discourse at the United Nations General Assembly on 24 September 2013, where she also defended net neutrality, stating that it should not be restricted for political, commercial, religious or any other purposes. We salute these declarations and urge President Roussef to ensure application of such principles in the domestic legislation of her country.

We welcome the fast track granted to the legislative review of the so called “Marco Civil da Internet”, a bill that, if approved, will serve as a Bill of Rights for internet users in Brazil and could be a model for progressive legislation elsewhere.

The text originally proposed by the Government to the Brazilian Congress in 2011 affirms the protection of freedom of expression, restricts data retention and protects Internet intermediaries from liability for the actions of third parties. The draft also establishes that online content can only be removed by judicial order.

The text presented to Congress was the result of a participatory process, whereby the draft was opened to public consultation and received hundreds of comments and suggestions for amendments. The revised text that followed to the Lower House received ample support from Brazilian society.

Changes, however, have been proposed in key articles concerning net neutrality, data protection and intermediaries' liability. We call on the Brazilian Legislators to maintain the original wording in the 2011 draft, which was stronger in its defense of digital rights of individuals.

We call on the Brazilian Congress to promptly pass the Marco Civil and on President Roussef to ensure its due implementation, as a measure to protect the right of Brazilians to an Internet that is free and open to all.

Sincerely,

ARTICLE 19
Association for Civil Rights
Association of Caribbean Media Workers
Association of Independent Electronic Media
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Centre for Independent Journalism - Malaysia
Centro de Archivos y Acceso a la Información Pública
Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala - CERIGUA
Derechos Digitales
Espacio Público
Foundation for Press Freedom - FLIP
Fundamedios - Andean Foundation for Media Observation and Study
Globe International Center
Independent Journalism Center - Moldova
Index on Censorship
Initiative for Freedom of Expression - Turkey
Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela
International Federation of Journalists
International Press Institute
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
Media Watch
National Press Association
National Union of Somali Journalists
Pacific Islands News Association
Pakistan Press Foundation
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms - MADA
PEN Canada
PEN International
Privacy International
Reporters Without Borders

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