ICT Policies Favouring Human Rights

ICT Policies Favouring Human Rights

Rolf H. Weber (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1918-0.ch002
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Abstract

The tremendous developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) over the last 20 years have substantially changed communication practices across the world. The Internet and mobile phones help to open new horizons for connections between people, leading to a global network for the sharing of information and ideas. In this new environment, human rights need to have a place, and traditional notions related to mass media need to be adapted to the needs of civil society. Freedom of expression has become much more individualistic, with information exchanges no longer relying on the traditional intermediaries (mass media) but on the exchange of ideas on social networking and other platforms. Civil society participation in the information world requires the necessary infrastructure however. And since states have an obligation to see to it that human rights are realized in practice, this may mean the facilitation of private investments to improve the ICT infrastructure. In this context, ICT policies favoring human rights must encompass a right to development.
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Political Developments

The realization of a global communications order is not a new objective. For almost 40 years politicians have debated how a reasonable legal framework supporting the participation of global civil society could be institutionalized. For the present discussions it is worthwhile to reflect upon the historical milestones.

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