UNESCO launches the 6th publication in the Internet Freedom series

Adding to global knowledge resources about the Internet, UNESCO has launched a new study called “Principles for governing the Internet”. This reviews and analyses more than 50 Internet-specific declarations and frameworks relevant to Internet principles.

The review provided important context for UNESCO’s comprehensive Internet Study, titled “Keystones to foster inclusive Knowledge Societies: Access to information and knowledge, Freedom of Expression, Privacy and Ethics on a Global Internet, as mandated by UNESCO Resolution 52 of the 37th General Conference.

As the sixth edition in the UNESCO Internet Freedom series, this study encompasses both quantitative and qualitative assessments of more than 50 declarations, guidelines, and frameworks. The issues contained in these documents are assessed in the context of UNESCO’s  interested areas such as access, freedom of expression, privacy, ethics, Priority Gender Equality, and Priority Africa, and sustainable development, etc.

This publication shows that while each of the reviewed Internet documents has its own value, none of them fully meet UNESCO’s interests and mandate. The study proposes therefore the concept of “Internet Universality” as the Organisation’s own clear identifier for approaching the various fields of Internet issues and their intersections with UNESCO concerns.

Internet Universality highlights the contribution that can be made by an Internet that is based on four principles, recognised by UNESCO governing bodies. An Internet developed on these principles would be: human Rights-based; Open; Accessible to all; and governed through Multi-stakeholder participation (summarized in the acronym R.O.A.M.).

This concept has relevance to the Organization’s work in many areas – including online freedom of expression and privacy; efforts to advance universality in education, social inclusion and gender equality; multilingualism in cyberspace; access to information and knowledge; and ethical dimensions of information society.

As a background database to illustrate this study and a useful online web source for policy makers and other stakeholders, UNESCO has launched a webpage collecting and updating various international and regional instruments, as well as declarations of various meetings that relate to the areas of access, freedom of expression, privacy and ethics at below link:

The publication is accessible online here.