Fostering Freedom Online: the Role of Internet Intermediaries
MacKinnon, R., Hickok, E., Bar, A., & Lim, H. with research contribution by Kirsten Gollatz
Paris, France: UNESCO/Internet Society.
Freedom of expression is a universal human right that applies equally to the internet as to the offline world.
As an international intergovernmental organization with a global remit that promotes universal values, UNESCO is exploring a conceptual framework of internet ‘universality’ according to which respect for four core principles is a precondition for the Internet to
be universal: human rights, openness, accessibility; and multistakeholder participation. The four can be summarized by the mnemonic R – O – A – M (Rights-based, Open, Accessible, Multistakeholder driven). This report addresses challenges for realizing the first principle, human rights. The research also helps to inform UNESCO’s implementation of a comprehensive and consultative multi-stakeholder Internet study as mandated by the Organization’s 37th General Conference Resolution 52.3.
The goal of this report is to shed light on how internet intermediaries – services that mediate online communication and enable various forms of online expression – both foster and restrict freedom of expression across a range of jurisdictions, circumstances,
technologies, and business models. [From the Executive Summary]