Press Statement: UN voices concern about online censorship

By EDRi · June 3, 2011

UN voices concern about online censorship

State and private interests are increasingly restricting the free flow of information on the Internet, according to a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council this week by Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

The report looks at recent global trends and technological developments which have effected the ability to exercise free speech and access information. European Digital Rights (EDRi) was among the experts invited to offer input during the preparation of the report.

The Special Rapporteur expresses “deep concern” about the growing number of measures being introduced by States to regulate access not only to particular material but to the Internet itself. These include “arbitrary blocking or filtering of content; criminalization of legitimate expression” [and] “disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of intellectual property rights law”. Inadequate data and privacy protection are also said to “undermine people’s confidence and security on the Internet”. He said he was “alarmed” by the Internet suspension measures France’s HADOPI law and the United Kingdom’s Digital Economy Act.

The report strongly condemns all attempts to increase intermediary liability, identifying some of the serious repercussions of offering the private sector “unprecedented influence over individuals’ right to freedom of expression and access to information”.

The report is available at the following web address:

The PDF of this statement can be found at: