Rio IGF 2008: Amnesty renews its call on governments and companies to make human rights central to internet governance
Posted: 12 November 2007
As the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meets in Rio de Janeiro this week, Amnesty International said today that restrictions on freedom of expression online are increasing globally.
Amnesty International believes that numerous allegations of corporate involvement in suppression of human rights necessitates both companies and governments taking their responsibilities more seriously. The organisation is calling on governments to halt prosecution and legislation aimed at limiting freedom of expression online and to release prisoners held on the basis of their online political expression. Amnesty also calls on governments to commit collectively to human rights standards as the essential basis to prevent violations online.
To ensure that Internet companies do not become complicit with governments in violating human rights, Amnesty is urging such companies to demonstrably use all national and international legal, political and technical means available towards this end.
'In the 12 months since the last IGF we've witnessed the crisis in Burma, where the Internet was used to get images and information out of the country and to mobilize people all over the world to take action. On the other hand we have also monitored the increase in censorship, filtering and blocking of websites.
'The IGF is taking place at a pivotal time in the Internet's history. Its potential is enormous, but that potential could so easily be squandered. It's essential that human rights are embedded in any agreement on Internet governance, and that companies and governments are held to their human rights commitments.'
Two years after agreement was reached in Tunis on the principles which should govern the Internet, more and more countries apply filters to web content, 'cyber-dissidents' are arrested and harassed in a growing number of countries said the organisation.
Recent arrests have been reported in a number of other countries including Thailand where directives and legislation to limit freedom of expression online were issued in September 2006 and July 2007.