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ARTICLE 19 welcomes Internet free expression debate

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Geneva, 29.02.2012 - ARTICLE 19 welcomes the first ever debate on freedom of expression on the internet to be held on 29 February at the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, signalling recognition that online freedom is a crucial human rights issue.

“Protecting freedom of expression on the internet is one of the biggest challenges of the 21ST century,” says Dr Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19. “The fact that the Human Rights Council is taking up this issue is a welcome move. Any regulation of freedom of expression on the internet must be guided by international standards and online speech should be guaranteed the same protection as is awarded to other channels of expression,” she continues.

ARTICLE 19 welcomes this initiative in adopting more comprehensive and cognisant approaches to freedom of expression on the internet. We call on the Human Rights Council to recognise the need for stronger protection measures for freedom of expression online and to implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression has already taken important steps on this issue. Last year, he published two authoritative reports on freedom of expression on the Internet.

ARTICLE 19 strongly encourages the Human Rights Council to support the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur and to take a comprehensive approach in dealing with freedom of expression on the internet.

Click here to read the most recent Special Rapporteur report:
Special_rapporteur_report_aug11.pdf (126 KB)

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