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Commission to defend access to open Internet and freedom of speech at global Internet Governance Forum conference in Azerbaijan

European Commission - MEMO/12/827   01/11/2012

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 1 November 2012

Commission to defend access to open Internet and freedom of speech at global Internet Governance Forum conference in Azerbaijan

The European Commission will use the opportunity of the annual global conference of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Baku (5-9 November) to defend the open Internet and promote the Internet as a frontline in efforts to ensure freedom of speech globally, including in Azerbaijan. These efforts will advance the Commission's No Disconnect Strategy and its support for multi-stakeholder governance of the Internet.

Vice President Kroes leads a delegation from across the Commission, and will make a strong intervention into debates about the future of Internet governance at the IGF. Kroes will defend the view that there is no need for a new Treaty to regulate the Internet. Instead, the multi stakeholder model should be promoted further and be made more inclusive and responsive.

More generally the Commission will emphasise the need for the Internet to remain a vibrant environment for innovation and economic growth, and to improve as a space where transparency, democracy and protection of human rights are guaranteed.

The Commission will meet with human rights activists and on-line journalists in addition to meeting the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. The delegation will learn first-hand about experiences of internet freedom both in Azerbaijan and globally, and will raise a number of concerns about protection and promotion of human rights in Azerbaijan.

As a key funder of the Internet Governance Forum, the Commission is co-organising four sessions of the conference:

  • on the protection of the rule of law in the online environment, to discuss different issues related to the responsibility and role of Internet service providers in preserving freedom of speech.

  • on the evaluation of the Internet Freedom Initiatives, for the promotion of the No-Disconnect strategy and exchange information about other similar initiatives in different countries (see IP/11/1525);

  • on media pluralism and freedom of expression in the Internet age, which is currently addressed by the High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism established by Vice President Kroes (see IP/11/1173)

  • on how to make Internet a better place for children, to discuss the responsibility of different actors in the area of child protection on the Internet.

Speeches and other press statements will be released via the Commission's RAPID database during the course of the conference

Background

The Internet Governance Forum was born out of the 2003-2005 World Summit on the Information Society, providing a single global multi-stakeholder platform where governments, the private sector and civil society can come together to discuss major issues related to Internet governance. It was set up as a neutral, non-binding and non-duplicative process. The first IGF was held in Athens in 2006, followed by meetings in Rio de Janeiro (2007), Hyderabad (2008), Sharm El Sheikh (2009), Vilnius (2010) and Nairobi (2011).

For more information

Digital Agenda website: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda

The Media Task force website:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/media_taskforce/index_en.htm

Neelie Kroes' website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/kroes/

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/neeliekroeseu


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