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Brussels, 6th February 2004

EU celebrates Safer Internet Day 6 February

On 6th February 2004, the Safer Internet Day will be celebrated across Europe. This event focuses on children's rights to a safer Internet as part of the European Commission's Safer Internet Programme. It showcases existing safer Internet projects, videos and awards developed with the backing of the programme. These programmes involve actors from the private, public and voluntary sectors. Safer Internet project members have contributed to several remarkable achievements. In October 2003 a worldwide child-porn ring was broken up following a tip from the Internet hotline association INHOPE. In November 2003 the new Internet Content Rating Association content filtering platform ICRAplus was launched. Events will be staged simultaneously in 12 European countries (Denmark, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom), as well as in Australia. These events involve public authorities, the Internet industry and hundreds of other organisations.

"Ensuring that people feel safe using the Internet and know that it is safe for their children is crucial to getting the Internet into every home and business across the Union" said Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen. "The Safer Internet Programme shows how small scale, but focused action can have a big impact in boosting confidence. The Safer Internet day marks these successes. However, we must also recognise that much more needs to be done to build awareness. According to an upcoming Eurobarometer survey, almost 60% of Europeans do not know where or to whom they can report illegal and harmful content on the internet so that it can be removed from the Internet".

Events include award shows in Germany and the Netherlands for children's poster campaigns, the launch of the safer internet education programme and video in Ireland and the presentation by children of a charter of internet rights to member of the Spanish Parliament in Spain.

The Safer Internet day is promoted by the Safer Internet Awareness Campaign. It results from the work of two projects funded from the EU's Safer Internet programme: SafeBorders and Safety, Awareness, Facts and Tools (SAFT). The programme, which has been running since 1999 also seeks to ensure a safe environment for other on-line situations such as for content delivered via broadband and mobile communications, online games, peer-to-peer file transfer, and all forms of real-time communications such as chat rooms and instant messages. It is specifically designed to help protect children and young people from being exploited.

This programme, which has provided €38 million between 1999 and 2004, has four main areas of action:

  • supporting the setting up a European network of hotlines to report illegal content

  • encouraging self-regulation

  • developing content rating and filtering, benchmarking filtering software and services and

  • raising awareness of safer use of the Internet.

Over four years more than 130 organisations from 17 European countries have been involved in the programme. Future work includes establishing a network of safer internet awareness centres and the expansion of the existing network of hotlines to report illegal content. The European Commission is likely to take a decision over the next few weeks on a follow-up programme, "Safer Internet plus", to cover the period 2005 to 2008.

For more information about the Safer Internet Day and national contact points see:

and about the Safer Internet programme, see:

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