APC surveys sexual rights advocates on internet regulation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Punita, an eighteen-year-old girl from Mumbai, said, “There are some things they don’t teach you about and which you need to find out about. Like one of my friends, for example, did some stuff with her boyfriend and she wanted to know how to use emergency contraception – you know, those ads you see for the i-pill. So we went to the internet and looked for it. A lot of people look online for these things, where else will they go? You don’t trust anybody in these things. You don’t want others to know you want to know about these things.” For Punita and her friend, such a query is blasphemous in a social climate where sex before marriage is condemned. However, as young people like Punita turn to the internet to find critical sexual health information, search engines like Bing and Yahoo! are censoring their search results for terms related to “sex.”
The Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Programme (WRP) is developing the second phase of its project EROTICS: An exploratory research project into sexuality and the internet (http://www.apc.org/en/node/7904) and initiating a monitoring survey for sexual rights activists as its first activity.
Available in eight languages, the survey seeks to expose the difficulties that sexuality rights activists face in developing free and full access to the internet for their work as advocates.
A global monitoring tool, it will document and capture the value of the internet in sexual rights advocacy as well as the obstacles, threats and challenges faced by activists working on sexuality and sexual rights when using the internet for their work. An analysis of the findings aims to provide an evidence-based snapshot for policy advocacy and engagement in internet governance and to strengthen the capacity of advocates for sexual rights, women’s rights and gender equality to resist internet content regulation and to participate in this process.
The first EROTICS project produced convincing evidence that the revolutionary potential of the internet is being threatened and constrained through increasing regulation by state and non-state actors.
The connection between regulation of sexual speech and content on the internet and it’s impact on sexual rights activism is seldom documented in a comprehensive and systematic manner. EROTICS project coordinator Jac sm Kee explains, “Several online censorship surveys do capture data on blocked sexual terms like ‘porn’ or genitalia, but do not offer a connection or analysis of what this might mean to sexual rights activists who turn to the internet as an important space for the advancement of sexual citizenship.”
Sexuality rights activists are invited to fill in the survey until 8 April 2013.
EROTICS: An exploratory research project into sexuality and the internet (http://www.apc.org/en/node/7907/) is an APC initiative with financial support from the Ford Foundation (http://www.fordfoundation.org).
Download the full research findings “EROTICS: Sex, rights and the internet” (http://www.apc.org/en/system/files/EROTICS.pdf) or download the EROTICS issues paper which provides an overview of the research findings (http://www.apc.org/en/system/files/Erotics_Exec_Summary.pdf)
About the Association for Progressive Communications
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network and non-profit organisation founded in 1990 that wants everyone to have access to a free and open internet to improve lives and create a more just world. http://www.apc.org
WRP Communications associate
Tel: + 55 02477 640312