By Julius Businge
The participants in the World Conference on International Telecommunications meeting in Dubai have overwhelmingly supported the importance of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirming the right of all people to freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of any frontiers.
The delegates made the remarks in a Dec. 4 statement at the second plenary session of the conference (WCIT-12, 3-14, December).
The conference is being held to renegotiate the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), a binding global treaty that facilitates global interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services, setting out general principles for ensuring the free flow of information around the world and promoting affordable and equitable access for all.
The statement says that a delegation from Tunisia tabled a proposal asking the conference to include in Article 1 new wording specifically protecting freedom of expression, noting that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online”.
The delegation asked that Member States protect the right to “all dissemination means through telecommunications and ICTs in the exercise of this right, as well as the freedom of online peaceful assembly.”
The conference will consider a review of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), which define the general principles for the provision and operation of international telecommunications.
The conference ends on Dec. 14.