Freedom of expression in the networked environment

The superhighway has wired people all around the global with abundance of information and resources. The internet has become a common communication platform to disseminate information and gaining information in various fields. For some people, this is highly educational and applauded. However, for certain segment in society, such as the regime and private sector; the internet can become a ‘threat’ to political stability. The essence of freedom of expression in digital environment in any nation is highly depending on the society values and public participation to promoting accountable governance concerning many issues. Even all around the world we had observed rapid expansion on communication technologies and networks, yet in many countries have had little impact on enhancing and expanding freedom of expression.

Many societies, both develop and developing nations are still struggling with regulations concerning privacy, cyber security, censorship among others. Freedom of expression is not an issue exclusive for one country but, it is a worldwide issue that need global policy framework in dealing with those emerging issues. As digital world is evolving, it is important to understand its relationship with human rights, justice and democracy. In regulating the internet, a mix combination of bottom up approach and multi-agent environment sounds practical as the internet impacted people around the globe. At personal level, I am in the opinioned that the key policy making to regulate the internet is respecting human rights should serve at the heart of the governance regulation system. The question that might help us stimulate the debate concerning freedom of expression in networked environment is what is the policy framework for public space and interest in digital environment?

 

To stimulate the implementation by individual governments, it is very important to recognize global and multilateral platforms that established at global scene by respected body such as United Nations in setting the agenda. This week reading material dealing with the opportunities and limitation offered by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), one of the UN bodies in shaping public policy concerning digital environment and information society around the globe. WSIS is very important platform to bridge the digital divide between developed and emerging nations. WSIS also offered unique platform to engage with civil society participants in WSIS’s multi-stakeholders global governance process. Advocates from civil society sector need to understand the complex structure of UN global body like WSIS so that, they can effectively advocate for social change concerning implementation of information society by their governments. While engagement with civil society players is applauded by global body like WSIS, the form and content of engagement need to be distinguished and undergo evaluation from time to time because, civil society participation in complex structure like WSIS should be able to foster multi-stakeholder collaboration in pursuing agenda setting and not to create tension with global policy networks that usually represent by the governments.

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