Jag har precis talat inför IPU församlingen i Quebec (där parlamentariker från 162 av världens länder deltar) om yttrandefrihet och vikten av fritt och öppet Internet utan censur. Det är fantastiskt vilket stort stöd jag fått för Sveriges ståndpunkt. Många delegater från länder som tex Nederländerna, Storbritannien, Nya Zeeland, Schweiz, samt delegater från oppositionen i mindre demokratiska stater har deklarerat sitt stöd för Sveriges ståndpunkt. Bifogar här mitt anförande:
127th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Quebec City, 21-26 October 2012
Third Standing Committee: Speech by Ms Ulrika Karlsson
The use of media, including social media, to enhance citizen engagement and democracy
It is most important to protect the human rights on the internet, to protect freedom of speech. We have an ongoing debate in Sweden in which the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is in forefront to advocate that the human rights should be respected offline as well as online. We must all realize that internet is a powerful source of information and a useful tool in strengthening democracy in the world.
Freedom of expression comes together with responsibility. Online-safety is essential to protect freedom of expression on the internet, as well as to enable free and opened societies. However, it is important that online-safety measures do not undermine or limit the freedom of expression. Internet should be opened and accessible for all citizens across the globe.
Sweden has the first Freedom of the Press Act in the world, founded in the year 1766. During the last five years it has been open for an oversight. I personally had the opportunity to be a member of this Constitutional Inquiry on Freedom of the Press Act and Freedom of Expression Act. A lot of our work focused on the delicate question on the balance between Openness and Freedom on one hand – and – Responsibilities and Integrity of the individuals on the other hand.
One other core issue is the access. It is important to mention that access concerns both the physical access – the hardware – and the access to the content. Censorship and regulations threatens the freedom of expression and the open society that we all want to achieve.
Today, 90 percent of Earth’s land mass has been covered by mobile systems. In Sweden 85 percent of the population have Internet access and one third of the population have an account on Facebook. This is a fantastic opportunity and the trend in the world goes in the right direction. However some countries are going in the wrong direction in terms of censoring information.
Countries aiming for economic development must have the will and the power to protect and promote an uncensored, opened and accessible internet. This is fundamental for citizen engagement and to strengthen democracy across the world.
Finally I would like to make a reference to a recent comment by the Human Rights Committee’s comment on Article 19, concerning freedoms of opinion and expression §3:
“Freedom of expression is a necessary condition for the realisation of the principles of transparency and accountability that are, in turn, essential for the promotion and protection of human rights.”