In a resolution described as “historic”, last Thursday for the first time the UN recognized the right of individuals to freedom of expression on the Internet and called on all countries to protect this right. Building on the momentum of this new global establishment, on July 11, 2012 the NGO “Derechos Digitales” (“Digital Rights”) launched the online campaign “No temas a Internet” [es] (“Don’t fear the Internet”), to alert people about the fundamental importance of online freedom of expression.
“Contrary to popular belief, the threats to freedom of expression on the Internet are not only present in totalitarian countries. Today it is also a reality in democracies like ours, where freedom of expression online is affected both by restrictive practices and laws, especially those concerned with privacy and copyrights,” said the director of NGO Derechos Digitales, Claudio Ruiz.
For NGO Derechos Digitales, the campaign “Don’t fear the Internet” seeks to create a counterweight to the dominant discourse (even in some countries that are part of the UN) which presents the Internet as a space where piracy and insecurity abound, creating an unfriendly and strained atmosphere. According to Ruiz, “the Internet is a tool for democracy, and we must defend it and take advantage of it, to promote the access and dissemination of knowledge and respect for our privacy, which are fundamental pillars of online freedom of expression. ‘Don’t fear Internet’ then becomes a key phrase.”
Internet without free speech is meaningless. For example, putting restrictions on material that people use for non-commercial purposes or not protecting users’ personal data, makes the Internet lose all its democratic potential. “Beyond the declarations of international organizations like the UN, it is essential that we as citizens know our rights and defend the Internet as a platform for human rights,” said Ruiz.
During the campaign, we will publish warning videos, testimonials of cases where freedom of expression is threatened, educational infographics, among other media that seek to strengthen awareness on the rights of access to knowledge and privacy of Internet users, in the context of defending freedom of expression.