Freedom of expression
Freedom of expression (FoE) is essential for the personal development and dignity of every individual and is vital for the fulfillment of other human rights.
Sudan experienced a massive internet outage on 25 September 2013 in addition to a violent crackdown on protests over fuel subsidy cuts by the Sudanese government. Evidence suggests that the connectivity blackout was not a catastrophic technical failure, but rather an intentional act to disconnect citizens of Sudan from the rest of the world and from each other.
On 20-21 September, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) held a regional dialogue and workshop on “Freedom of expression in cyberspace” in Johannesburg. The event explored how to empower human rights defenders in Southern Africa using the internet. Discussion brought to light issues of intermediary liability, surveillance, human rights, and internet governance.
Access and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) have prepared a short briefing on the internet related human rights items that will be addressed at Human Rights Council 24, as well as some background on the Council’s work on the internet and human rights.
The Web We Want, a global campaign of which APC is part, has announced a round of small grants for 2013. The categories currently available are rapid response, surveillance action research, and capacity-building and outreach. The first deadline is September 9, and applications from non-profit groups in the Global South will be prioritised.
VOICE, an APC member in Bangladesh, denounces new legislation that will increase punishment for destroying computer data with malicious intent, transferring data without proper authority, hacking, and releasing vulgar and defaming information, thereby seriously endangering citizens’ right to privacy and human rights at large.
The government of Macedonia is proposing two media bills that, if approved, will severely impact Macedonians’ freedom of information and freedom of expression. Take action and ask the Minister of Information Society and Administration to reconsider the bills.
Maureen Nwobodo, a Google policy fellow supporting APC’s work on intermediary liabilities from Nigeria, analyses how new legislation is using the private sector to police the flow of information online.