Fundamental Freedoms in the Internet Governance Forum: Protecting and Promoting Freedom of Expression

13 November 2007 - A Workshop on Openness in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


The Internet is premised on fundamental freedoms, which derive their power from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association and privacy rights in particular give the internet its power – to promote access to information and more open societies, to facilitate political and social change, to encourage business entrepreneurship, and to enable social networking.

This workshop will address why ensuring fundamental freedoms (freedom of expression; freedom of assembly and association; and privacy) are a pre-requisite to success in other areas of Net-related governance; the inter-relationship of online freedoms; some trends in the ability or inability of people to exercise these freedoms (e.g. through increased use of technology on the one hand and measures like filtering and surveillance on the other); and how obstacles to the realisation of rights can be addressed by stakeholders.


Amnesty International UK and The Net Dialogue Project (Harvard's Berkman Center & Stanford's Center for Internet and Society)

Co-chairs: Nick Dearden, Amnesty International UK and Marcelo Thompson, Oxford Internet Institute, speaking for the Net Dialogue Project

Other panellists:

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia (particpating remotely from South Africa)

Andrew McLaughlin, Global Director of Public Policy, Google Inc

Rob Faris, Open Net Initiative and Research Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School

Lee Hibbard, Media Division, Directorate General of Human Rights, Council of Europe

Matthias Traimer, Chairperson of Council of Europe Steering Committee on Media and New Communication Services

Possibly a cyber-dissident who has personal experience of internet repression / censorship