Centre for Internet & Society

Swaraj Paul Barooah was a speaker at two panels during the World Library and Information Congress 2018 (WLIC2018), organised by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in Kuala Lumpur on August 26 and 27, 2018.

Swaraj's first panel, titled "Intellectual Freedom in a Polarised World" was selected as one of 9 sessions to be live-streamed and recorded, out of 249 sessions in total. The recording can be accessed on YouTube.

Session 123 Intellectual Freedom in a Polarised World - Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) Advisory Committee (SI)

Chair: Martyn Wade, United Kingdom

In many national contexts, citizens are seen to be either “with the government or against it,” leaving little opportunity to freely and safely express more nuanced views of current social, political or economic issues. While notable authoritarian regimes quite transparently monitor and limit societal discussion, others, ostensibly democratic, may work in practice to blunt potentially unfavourable social commentary on the pretence of defending political stability or public morality. IFLA’s Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) Advisory Committee explores this phenomenon--and the potential role of civil society and information professionals in advancing freedom of expression--through the experience and insights of an NGO leader, an academic public intellectual, and an officer of UNESCO.


  1. Internet and the freedom of expression in Indonesia: opportunity and challenges - Indriaswati Dyah Saptaningrum, University of New South Wales; former Executive Director of the ELSAM human rights organization (Indonesia), Australia
  2. Freedom of Expression in Malaysia - Azmi Bin Sharom, Faculty of Law, University of Malaysia, Malaysia
  3. What's up with WhatsApp - polarisation and lynchings in India - Swaraj Paul Barooah, The Centre for Internet and Society, India
  4. How to align national laws with international standards on freedom of expression? - Ming-Kuok Lim, Programme Specialist for Communication and Information, UNESCO, Indonesia

Session 140 To Have and not to Hold: The End of Ownership - CLM and FAIFE

The shift from buying physical library media to licensing digital content has profound impacts on the way libraries acquire and give access to content. From e-books that can disappear at the whim (or the mistake) of the owners of a server far away, to the limits on sharing and archiving imposed by some contracts. From the potential monitoring of reader behaviour, to the criminalisation of those who simply want to improve user experience. The dominance of digital media in information provision has both broadened the field of information to which we have access, but potentially made it shallower in terms of the use that libraries, and their users, can make of it. The joint CLM-FAIFE session will look at the question of the end of ownership from a legal and an ethical point of view, drawing on the experience and knowledge of the two communities.

  • Tomas A. Lipinski, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA – The Limits of Licensing.
  • Ann Okerson, Centre for Research Libraries, Chicago, USA – The Possibilities of Licensing.
  • Swaraj Paul Barooah, Centre for Internet and Society – The Balance among Licenses and Exceptions and Limitations to Copyright.
  • Brent Roe - Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada – Privacy Concerns and Other Side Effects of Licensing.
  • Jonathan Hernandez-Perez, Researcher, Instituto de Investigaciones Bibilotecologicas, UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico (Invited) – Special Issues in the Developing World; Open Access as a Recapturing of Ownership.