Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies
One of the most significant societal changes promoted by the Internet is not only the open and free access to information, but also the access to new channels of dissemination. Social media, blogs, podcasts have become impactful media tools, empowering users to produce and share their perspective on public affairs and to disseminate news in real time as they unfold on the ground.
Journalists, citizen-journalists, bloggers and social networks have come to play a fundamental role for democratic participation and are gradually becoming embedded as relevant sources of information for their audiences. At the same time, however, the freedom and even the personal safety of these authors can be threatened by excessive or undue restrictions.
Media freedom is fragile -- journalists are being harassed or killed for doing their work, publications are being censored or shut down, and laws are being passed which criminalize free speech. This reality doesn’t change on the Internet. Along with the opportunities offered by the network, new obstacles emerge: content filtering, monitoring and suspension of Internet access, often without due regard to individuals’ fundamental rights.
The Internet Society is strongly committed to an open, global and decentralized Internet, as a platform for press freedom and human progress.
The web is a powerful mass medium for self-expression, which depends on the ability of its users to speak freely. We believe that the Internet must support private — and, where appropriate, anonymous — means of communication and collaboration among individuals and groups.
May 3rd - World Press Freedom Day
On 3 May 1991, the UNESCO General Conference held in Windhoek, Namibia, endorsed the principles of press freedom, known as the Windhoek Declaration. The date is now celebrated globally and serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. Ultimately, it allows all of us to show our support for free press as a fundamental human right.