(No.149) Freedom of Expression Online: Key Challenges and Best Practices

Go to Report
Workshop Theme: 
Security, Openness and Privacy
Theme Question: 

Question 4

Concise Description of Workshop: 

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?

Organiser(s) Name: 

Freedom House, NGO, WEOG. Freedom House staff and delegates have participated in over 15 IGF workshops as panelists, as well as other international meetings with diverse stakeholders, though we have not organized an official IGF workshop before. Freedom House has participated in IGFs in Egypt, Lithuania, and Kenya and has sponsored the participation of large delegations of internet freedom activists from around the globe. We have also helped to organize and/or participated in national and regional level IGFs, including in the United States and Asia-Pacific region.

Previous Workshop(s): 


Submitted Workshop Panelists: 

Ms. Sanja Kelly, Project Director, Freedom on the Net, Freedom House, Civil Society, WEOG (confirmed)
Mr. Ross LaJeunesse, Global Head of Free Expression and International Relations, Google, Private Sector, WEOG (confirmed)
Ms. Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Inter-Governmental Organization, Eastern European Group (confirmed)
Ms. Marietje Schaake, member of European Parliament, Netherlands, Government, WEOG (confirmed)
Mr. Daniel Baer; Deputy Assistant Secretary; Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; US State Department, Government WEOG (confirmed)

Name of Remote Moderator(s): 
Sam DuPont, Program Officer, Internet Freedom, Freedom House