UNESCO welcomes new UNHRC Resolution highlighting online freedom of expression and noting UNESCO Internet Universality Indicator Framework


On 4 July 2018, the UN Human Rights Council adopts a new Resolution (A/HRC/38/L.10/Rev.1) on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet, which highlights online freedom of expression and privacy and recognizes UNESCO’s ongoing process of developing Internet Universality indicators, which contributes to advancing online human rights and achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

The Resolution re-affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, and highlights privacy online is important for the realization of the right to freedom of expression and other rights. The Resolution emphasizes protecting safety of journalists in the digital age and condemns online attacks against women, including sexual and gender-based violence and abuse of women, including women journalists and media workers, in violation of their rights to privacy and to freedom of expression.

UNESCO echoes with the Resolution particularly in its stressing the importance of applying a human rights-based approach when providing and expanding access to the Internet, and of the Internet being open, accessible and nurtured by multi-stakeholder participation.

UNESCO thus welcomes the Resolution, which particularly notes, “the launch by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of a process to develop an Internet universality indicator framework to assess the contribution to sustainable development from an Internet based on respect for human rights, openness and accessibility to all and guided by multi-stakeholder participation”.

Throughout the development of the project to define Internet Universality Indicators, UNESCO aims to offer a holistic approach to promote human rights online by considering and their interlinkages to fostering an Internet being Open, Accessible to all, and nurtured by Multistakeholder participation as highlighted by the R.O.A.M principles of Internet Universality framework.

UNESCO has launched the second draft of the Internet Universality Indicators in May, which presents 283 draft Internet Universality indicators including 88 core ones combining institutional, quantitative and quantitative indicators to assess national development and dynamics in the fields of human rights online, inclusiveness, and multi-stakeholder Internet governance.

The Internet Universality R.O.A.M indicators will be able to help states and stakeholders to identify gaps within a country in relation to Internet Universality, and to make appropriate recommendations concerning policy and practice. This project thus greatly contributes to harnessing the great potential of information and communications technology “to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divides and to develop knowledge societies” as called upon by the Resolution.

Four country-level pre-tests of draft Internet Universality indicators have been conducted in Brazil, Ecuador, Nigeria and Pakistan. Piloting processes in Brazil, Thailand and Senegal are upcoming and more feedbacks will be incorporated into the revision process of the final version. The indicators will be finalized and presented for consideration by the Intergovernmental Council of the UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) during November 2018.

More information regarding the IUI project can be found at the following address: https://en.unesco.org/internetuniversality