Monday, August 20, 2007

The Council of Europe stresses public service role of the Internet

(13/08/07) The Council of Europe has sent its submission to the next Internet Governance Forum taking place from 12 to 15 November in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The Council promotes the public service value of the Internet and places users rights, in particular freedom of expression, and safety at the forefront.

The document stresses the concept of public service value of the Internet, “understood as people’s significant reliance on the Internet as an essential tool for their everyday activities (communication, information, knowledge, commercial transactions) and the resulting legitimate expectation that Internet services are accessible and affordable, secure, reliable and ongoing.”

The document goes on to stress that “ for the many people who are at present information-poor (in contrast to the information-rich on the flip-side of the so-called digital divide), access to the Internet is a legitimate aspiration linked to their very prospects of development and democratic citizenship. This is a clear example where states have an essential role to play in providing a framework for the private sector to operate or by taking concrete steps towards filling essential gaps left by private operators.

The reliability (quality, authenticity and diversity) of information on the Internet is a key factor in making informed choices and decisions. This helps to foster the Internet as a space of trust, freedom and confidence. Developing and promoting ‘islands of trust’ on the Internet, for example by means of content provided by public service media or public authorities, is one important way forward which we are currently examining and developing at the Council of Europe. “

Source: Council of Europe