International Workshop on Freedom of Expression on the Internet

When :

from Tuesday 10 December, 2013
to Thursday 12 December, 2013

Type of event :

Meeting by Member States or Institutions

Where :

Haus der Kulturen der Welt , John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557, Berlin, Germany

Contact :

Katja Römer, Head of Division of Communication, Information, Inclusive Education, German Commission for UNESCO (Email:

The German Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair on Freedom of Communication and Information (University of Hamburg) will organize an international workshop with the aim of promoting and informing current debates on approaches to handling online content that violates freedom of speech. The workshop will take place on 10/11 December 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Thirty representatives from governments, international organizations, private enterprises, civil society and academia will participate in the discussions. Workshop outcomes will be summarized and streamlined into a publication to be distributed to key decision-makers in governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society worldwide.
In times of a rapidly changing communication landscape, the protection of the basic human right to freedom of expression is a challenge. National governments, private companies, civil society, generators and users of online content at times take differing positions on how to protect freedom of expression on the Internet in particular when handling controversial online content. Private companies have become critical intermediaries between the generator and the consumer of online content. Identifying practices of intermediaries with regards to monitoring, surveillance, anonymity and take-down of content and discussing their applicability in different contexts is an important step to be taken to reduce potential conflicts.

On 10-11 December 2013, the German Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair Freedom of Communication and Information (University of Hamburg) will organize an international workshop on this subject. The workshop aims at contributing to a dialogue among high-profile representatives of business, governments, NGOs and academia. It will give an overview on structural changes in communication by the use of private online services. The workshop will complement and build on the work being done in this field by UNESCO, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, academics worldwide and various NGOs and Think Tanks.