2011 - Internet rights and democratisation

The 2011 Global Information Society Watch report investigates how governments and internet and mobile phone companies are trying to restrict freedom online - and how citizens are responding to this using the very same technologies.

Everyone is familiar with the stories of Egypt and Tunisia. GISWatch authors tell these and other lesser-known stories from over fifty countries including:

  • PRISON CONDITIONS IN ARGENTINA Prisoners are using the internet protest living conditions and demand respect for their rights.
  • TORTURE IN INDONESIA The torture of two West Papuan farmers was recorded on a mobile phone and leaked to the internet. The video spread to well-known human rights sites sparking public outrage and a formal investigation by the authorities.
  • THE TSUNAMI IN JAPAN Citizens used social media to share actionable information during the devastating tsunami, and in the aftermath online discussions contradicted misleading reports coming from state authorities. Other countries include China, Iran, Lebanon and Pakistan.

“Written by internationally-renowned experts, the report brings its readers easy-to-read and yet comprehensive articles, many with policy proposals, on the most important challenges protecting human rights on the internet is facing today,” says lawyer Matthias C. Kettemann, co-chair of the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition. “The report's country studies –which are in turn saddening, moving, uplifting-- shed light on how the internet can truly be a catalyst for change – and how it can be misused.”

In his preface to the report Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression says “GISWatch 2011 offers timely commentary on the future of the internet as an open and shared platform that everyone has the right to access.”

GISWatch 2011 also includes expert reports from:

  • Egyptian blogger Ramy Raoof on the the role of the internet in the wave of recent social resistance in North Africa
  • Alex Comninos on revolutions and cyber crackdowns in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Ron Deibert (Open Net Initiative) on cyberwarfare and counter-terrorism: implications for an open and free internet
  • Joe McNamee (EDRI) on internet intermediaries - the border control guards who get to monitor and censor your content simply because they host your information
  • Ben Wagner on Who profits from restricting speech?

Global Information Society Watch 2011 Internet rights and democratisation - Focus on freedom of expression and association online | Published by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and Hivos

The Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) is a space for collaborative monitoring of implementation of international (and national) commitments made by governments towards the creation of an inclusive information society.

It focuses on monitoring progress made towards implementing the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) action agenda and other international and national commitments related to information and communications. It also provides analytical overviews of institutions involved in implementation. GISWatch aims to make governments and international organisations accountable for meeting the commitments they make through contributing to building a strong and sustainable global civil society policy advocacy network.

The GISWatch Reports are a series of yearly reports covering the state of the information society from the perspectives of civil society.

GISWatch is not only a publication, it is a process. The long term goal of the project is to build policy analysis skills and ‘habits’ into the work of civil society organisations that work in the areas of ICT for development, democracy and social justice.

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