Centre for Internet & Society

The Centre for Internet and Society is co-organising a workshop on Freedom of Expression or Access to Knowledge: Are We Taking the Necessary Steps Towards an Open and Inclusive Internet? at the Internet Governance Forum on

Although cyber-utopian visions have long been discredited, the promise that the Internet contains as a tool to work towards democratisation and greater social justice has not yet lost its attraction. This workshop will consider what kind of Internet architecture is needed, what kind of 'openness' and Internet 'freedom' is required to ensure that such visions can actually translate into reality. While the importance of freedom of expression has been fairly widely acknowledged, a concerted approach to many more Internet governance issue is urgently required if those who are at the forefront of struggles for social justice online are to continue to do their important work. The interplay between access to knowledge (including access to information and access to culture) on the one hand and human rights on the other, too, for example, requires our urgent attention.

The aim of this workshop will be, then, to come to a more in-depth and more rounded understanding of what issues impact the democratising potential of the Internet and how exactly they do so, so that we can also start communicating about these with greater clarity. To reach this aim, the workshop will bring together activists, researchers and other stakeholders with expertise on different regions of the world and, consequently, at times diverging opinions on what the problems and solutions with regard to Internet governance are, and will bring them in debate with each other.

The workshop will be organized in a roundtable format in order to increase the involvement of the participants. Initial remarks of the speakers will be followed by debate, and active moderation will ensure that the discussions are dynamic. The issues raised by the speakers will be grouped under several axes, including: (i) Civic empowerment online: towards a new public sphere?; (ii) governmental and private control over information and personal data; (iii) Cases of tension between copyright protection and access to knowledge online. Cases such as the adoption of laws following the three strikes model and the adoption of open data regulations will be taken into consideration.

Which of the five broad IGF Themes or the Cross-Cutting Priorities does your workshop fall under?
Security, Openness and Privacy

Have you organized an IGF workshop before? Yes
If so, please provide the link to the report:

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite:
Civil Society:

Robert Guerra – Freedom House, US
Anja Kovacs – Centre for Internet and Society, India
Kevin Bankston – EFF, US

Marília Maciel - Center for Technology and Society - Brazil
Jeremy Malcolm - Consumers International, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Johan Hallenborg – Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
José Murilo Junior – Brazilian Ministry of Culture, Brazil

Business sector:
Alan Davidson – Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for the Americas
Cornelia Kutterer, Microsoft, Belgium

Multistakeholder initiative:
Susan Morgan, Global Network Initiative

Remote moderator:
Carlos Affonso Pereira de Souza - Center for Technology and Society, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil

(A moderator is still to be determined but will be chosen from among the civil society and academic speakers. All speakers have confirmed their participation)

There are no panelists biographies associated to this workshop at the moment.

Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups:
Carlos Affonso Pereira de Souza - Center for Technology and Society, Getulio Vargas Foundation – civil society
Johan Hallenborg, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs - government
Anja Kovacs, Centre for Internet and Society - civil society
Jeremy Malcolm. Consumers International - civil society
Marília Maciel - Center for Technology and Society, Getulio Vargas Foundation – civil society

Organization:Centre for Internet and Society, India, and Center for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil

Contact Persons: Anja Kovacs and Marília Maciel

More information about this event…