Welcome to IGF2017! Create your schedule below and participate!
Venue Map
Back To Schedule
Thursday, December 21 • 10:20 - 11:50
A Look at World Trends in Freedom of Expression Online (WS33)

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Content of the Session:

Across the world, freedom of expression and journalism are under fire. Violent extremism, forced migration, and persistent inequality have contributed to a wave of political polarization, nationalism, and identity politics. As Internet intermediaries increasingly become primary platforms for accessing content, traditional media have seen their business models challenged, and some journalists see social media platforms and their algorithms as replacing them as the editors. How have these political, social and technological forces impacted freedom of expression online?

This session will provide a platform for discussion of these issues, building on the findings of the 2017/2018 report of UNESCO's flagship series on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development. The World Trends Report explores recent developments at the global and regional levels in media freedom, pluralism, independence, and safety, each examined through a gender-sensitive lens and with special attention given to transnational and digital media. The focus of the session will be on emerging digital trends, such as the rise in internet shutdowns, the impact of algorithms on diversity of content, and the production, circulation and responses to so-called ‘fake news’.

Session Format:
 Round Table - 90 Min


Moderator: Ms Rachel Pollack Ichou, Associate Programme Specialist, Executive Office, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO

Opening remarks:
Ms Anna Karefelt, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Mr Guilherme Canela Godoi, Advisor for Communication and Information, UNESCO Office in Montevideo

Moderated discussion with subject matter experts

Subject matter experts:

Ms Florence Poznanski, Head of Brazilian Desk, Internet Without Borders, Brazil

Mr Cláudio Lucena, Professor, Paraíba State University, Brazil

Mr Peter Micek, General Counsel, Access Now, USA

Ms Bishakha Datta, Executive Director, Point of View, India

Mr Thomas Schneider, Director of International Relations, OFCOM, Switzerland

Questions and comments from in-person and online participants

Closing remarks by moderator


Remote Moderator: Ms Olga Kyryliuk, Co-founder and Managing Partner, NGO "Digital Defenders Partners", Ukraine

Mr Chris Buckridge, External Relations Manager, RIPE NCC, the Netherlands


Relevance of the Session:
The session will provide an opportunity for open dialogue on major trends in freedom of expression online around the world. A universal human right, freedom of expression and access to information have increasingly been recognized as essential for building peaceful, just and inclusive societies (Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development). In the context of technological innovation and political polarization, it is essential to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss shared challenges encountered and possible ways forward in protecting freedom of expression online. This discussion will help all participants and the wider community of global internet users shape their digital futures to enhance their ability to seek, receive and impart information online.

Tag 1: Freedom of Expression
Tag 2: Algorithms

Additional Reference Document Link: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/world-media-trends

Session Organizers
avatar for Rachel Pollack

Rachel Pollack

Freedom of expression specialist, UNESCO

Thursday December 21, 2017 10:20 - 11:50 CET
Room XXIV - E United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)