MOSCOW, July 6 (Itar-Tass) — UNESCO has expressed concern over the intention of some countries’ leaders to restrict the freedom of speech in the Internet, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Janis Karklins said on Friday addressing delegates to the World Media Summit organized by ITAR-TASS.
“As far as the spread of information and communication technologies grows, we see a global trend towards ensuring bigger control and regulation of the Internet,” he said. “In most cases these actions do not meet the international standards defining restriction on the freedom of speech that can be applied within the legal frameworks and for justified reasons.”
In his comments on Russia’s draft law on the creation of the blacklist of dangerous websites that was submitted to the State Duma for consideration Karklins noted that “there are situations when the blocking of an Internet resource under the court decision can be considered lawful, but this should not become everyday practice.”
“This issue should be discussed openly inside Russia and if the blacklists are compiled, they should be open to the public for everyone to be able to know about them,” he said underlining that all actions should be in strict compliance with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
“The freedom of speech in the Internet should be protected,” Karklins said adding that new technologies help to exchange opinions more effectively than any other official source of the information could do.
“Such changes allow to overcome cultural and language barriers and help to create new forms of journalism and social involvement,” he said.
The expert expressed confidence that the freedom of speech in the Internet should be protected by users themselves, who need to have certain information literacy skills.
“UNESCO believes the problems such as violation of confidentiality and violence against children that spread after the Internet emerged can be properly resolved when citizens develop and deepen their information literacy skills,” Karklins said.
According to UNESCO, 2 billion people worldwide use the Internet and there are around 156 million public blogs in the global web.
UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information noted that Russia demonstrated a dynamic growth in the use of Internet technologies.
He recalled that Russia became the first country that introduced the Internet domain in the national language and this can be considered a milestone.