Publication Date
Publication Date: 

2011 - ongoing

This series of publications on internet freedom seeks to explore the changing legal and policy issues related to the internet. Specifically, the series intends to "capture the complex dynamics of global Internet governance and present the key outcomes of edge-cutting studies conducted by leading experts in a wide range of crucial issues ranging from online freedom of expression, privacy, safety, hate speech to intermediaries liability and Internet governance principles."

Published by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the series is meant to provide UNESCO Member States and other stakeholders with policy recommendations aiming to foster a conducive environment to freedom of expression on the internet.

UNESCO, as enshrined in its Constitution, promotes the “free flow of ideas by word and image”, and is accordingly committed to enabling a free, open, and accessible internet space as part of promoting comprehensive freedom of expression online and offline. UNESCO was mandated by the organisation’s 37th General Conference Resolution 52 to study the internet in its key competence areas of access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical dimensions of the information society, and this series is the product of this mandate.

The series consists of the following publications (as of October 2017):

Survey on Privacy in Media and Information Literacy with Youth Perspectives [2017]
This report seeks to provide clarity on the issue of how media and information literacy (MIL) and privacy intersect. It combines findings from two related research studies: The first is research into youth perspectives on privacy, and the second is a survey on privacy in MIL programmes globally. See Related Summaries, below.

Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age [2016]
This study maps changes over the past eight years in protections for the confidentiality of sources of journalism. The research has contributed to a global examination of internet-related issues, as requested by UNESCO’s 195 Member States.

Human Rights and Encryption [2016]
This study provides an overview of encryption technologies and their impact on human rights. It analyses in-depth the role of encryption in the media and communications landscape, and the impact on different services, entities, and end users. It highlights good practices and examines the legal environment surrounding encryption as well as various case studies of encryption policies.

Privacy, Free Expression and Transparency: Redefining Their New Boundaries in the Digital Age [2016]
This publication examines the crucial challenges of balancing the fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of expression, as well as the related value of transparency, in an online context. Through an exploration of their boundaries and of the various modalities of reconciling and aligning these rights and values, the study analyses the legal frameworks at play, specific cases, and interactions between multiple players. Built on the findings, it provides policy recommendations for key stakeholders.

Principles for Governing the Internet: A Comparative Analysis [2015]
This study encompasses both quantitative and qualitative assessments of more than 50 declarations, guidelines, and frameworks. The issues contained in these documents are assessed in the context of UNESCO’s interested areas such as access, freedom of expression, privacy, ethics, Priority Gender Equality, and Priority Africa, and sustainable development, etc.

Countering Online Hate Speech [2015]
This study provides a global overview of the dynamics characterising hate speech online and some of the measures that have been adopted to counteract and mitigate it, highlighting good practices that have emerged at local and global levels. The publication offers a comprehensive analysis of the international, regional, and national normative frameworks, with a particular emphasis on social and non-regulatory mechanisms that can help to counter the production, dissemination, and impact of hateful messages online.

Building Digital Safety for Journalism: A Survey of Selected Issues [2015]
As technologies develop, so do opportunities as well as threats to journalism. This research explains some of the emerging threats to journalism safety in the digital era and proposes a framework to help build digital safety for journalists. Examining 12 key digital threats to journalism, ranging from hacking of journalistic communications through to denial-of-service attacks on media websites, it assesses preventive, protective, and preemptive measures to avoid them. It shows, too, that digital security for journalism encompasses, but also goes beyond, the technical dimension.

Fostering Freedom Online: The Role of Internet Intermediaries [2014]
With the rise of internet intermediaries that play a mediating role between authors of content and audiences on the internet, this UNESCO publication provides in-depth case studies and analysis on how internet intermediaries impact on freedom of expression and associated fundamental rights such as privacy. It also offers policy recommendations on how intermediaries and states can improve respect for internet users’ right to freedom of expression.

Global Survey on Internet Privacy and Freedom of Expression [2012]
This publication seeks to identify the relationship between freedom of expression and internet privacy, assessing where they support or compete with each other in different circumstances. The book maps out the issues in the current regulatory landscape of internet privacy from the viewpoint of freedom of expression. It provides an overview of legal protection, self-regulatory guidelines, normative challenges, and case studies relating to the topic.

Freedom of Connection, Freedom of Expression: The Changing Legal and Regulatory Ecology Shaping the Internet [2011]
This report provides a new perspective on the social and political dynamics behind the threats to expression. It develops a conceptual framework on the 'ecology of freedom of expression' for discussing the broad context of policy and practice that should be taken into consideration in discussions of this issue.

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UNESCO website on December 8 2016 and October 26 2017.