Freedom of expression online: key challenges and best practices

8 November 2012 - A Workshop on Human Rights in Baku, Azerbaijan


In an environment characterized by growing internet access, legislative measures to regulate user activity, and new technologies with the potential to empower citizens, the key challenges to freedom of expression online are rapidly evolving. The pace of change has been especially notable since early 2011, as states in the Middle East have experienced unrest or regime change, millions of new users have come online via mobile phones, and various countries are considering the deployment of filtering systems to control access to information. Meanwhile, a wide range of actors have in recent years made recommendations and initiated programs to address threats to internet freedom. The proposed workshop will bring together stakeholders from academia, civil society, government, and the private sector to take stock of the most serious obstacles to freedom of expression globally and review the best practices that have emerged from legislative and activist engagement on these issues over the past year. Among the issues for discussion will be: What are the most common threats to freedom of expression online around the globe? What, if any, new threats to freedom of expression online have emerged in the past year that were not evident previously? What role have courts, access to information laws, and citizen-led campaigns played globally as bulwarks against abuses? In cases where a threat to freedom of expression has been repelled or reversed, what were the key factors that enabled this change? What factors should be considered when seeking to replicate such successes?