Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO advocates freedom of expression and access to information at the eighth IGF in Bali

"Building Bridges - Enhancing Multistakeholder Cooperation for Growth and Sustainable Development" is the main theme of the eighth Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which will take place in Bali, Indonesia, from 22 to 25 October 2013. UNESCO will present its advancements on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists, access to information, multilingualism and ethical dimensions of inclusive knowledge societies.

Today, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Mr Janis Karklins, participated as a panellist in the “High-Level Leaders Forum” and spoke on ethical dimensions of inclusive Knowledge Societies, during the IGF’s pre-event. He stressed that “only through collective actions that are informed, built on consensus and mutual respect, and grounded in universal values can coherent, sustainable responses to the current and emerging opportunities and ethical challenges be developed.”

At the IGF opening, which will be webcast, Mr Karklins will inform the IGF participants in the plenary about UNESCO’s IGF work and its key messages. This year, UNESCO will organize four meetings, some with its partners, and will participate in many more panels to advance discussion on freedom of expression as well as linguistic diversity and ethical principles in cyberspace. UNESCO will also further discussions on the new draft “Internet Universality” concept and will hold a UNESCO Open Forum.

The Internet is a key area for the fulfillment of UNESCO’s mission and in particular, for building the four underlying principles of knowledge societies: freedom of expression, universal access to information and knowledge, respect for cultural and linguistic diversity and quality education for all.

By inviting the most prominent experts and in cooperation with other key Internet stakeholders, UNESCO will host the following meetings:

  1. Protecting journalists, bloggers and media actors in digital age
    24 October, 9:00 - 10:30 (Bali time), Room 5 –
  2. Building Bridges to Online Multilingualism
    24 October, 11:00 - 12:30 (Bali time), Room 5
  3. Internet Universality: towards an Internet free and right based, open, accessible for all, and multi-stakeholders driven
    25 October, 9:00 - 10:30 (Bali time), Room 5
  4. UNESCO Open Forum
    25 October, 11:00 - 12:30 (Bali time), Room 4

You can join all these meetings remotely through the IGF website.

About UNESCO and Internet governance

UNESCO acknowledges the potential of the Internet for fostering sustainable human development and building democratic societies, and also for enhancing the free flow of information and ideas throughout the world. The Organization has consistently stressed that the mechanisms of Internet governance should be based on the principles of openness, privacy and diversity, encompassing universal access, interoperability, freedom of expression and measures to resist any attempt to censor content. It should also promote cultural and linguistic diversity, as stated in the “Recommendation concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace”. All these elements are essential for UNESCO to fulfil its overall mandate and mission. The new Internet Universality concept, discussed by UNESCO at this IGF, highlights the interdependence of the components of this uniquely open ecosystem - the normative, technical, social, etc. and the inseparability between issues of access, use and expression. It also puts forward four key pillars, stressing the importance of a Human Rights-based and multistakeholder approaches and the openness and accessibility for all of the Internet.