Reporters Without Borders and the OSCE (Organisation for
Security and Cooperation in Europe) have just
released a set of six recommendations which governments and corporations should
follow in order to ensure a free internet.


Full text of the Declaration :


1. Any law about the flow of information
online must be anchored in the right to freedom of expression as defined in
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


2. In a democratic and open society it is up to the
citizens to decide what they wish to access and view on the Internet. Filtering
or rating of online content by governments is unacceptable. Filters should only
be installed by Internet users themselves. Any policy of filtering, be it at a
national or local level, conflicts with the principle of free flow of


3. Any requirement to register websites with governmental
authorities is not acceptable. Unlike licensing scarce resources such as
broadcasting frequencies, an abundant infrastructure like the Internet does not
justify official assignment of licenses. On the contrary, mandatory
registration of online publications might stifle the free exchange of ideas,
opinions, and information on the Internet.


4. A technical service provider must not be held
responsible for the mere conduit or hosting of content unless the hosting
provider refuses to obey a court ruling. A decision on whether a website is
legal or illegal can only be taken by a judge, not by a service provider. Such
proceedings should guarantee transparency, accountability and the right to


5. All Internet content should be subject to the
legislation of the country of its origin (
upload rule) and not to the legislation of the country where it is downloaded.


6. The Internet combines various types of media, and new
publishing tools such as blogging are developing. Internet writers and online
journalists should be legally protected under the basic principle of the right
to freedom of expression and the complementary rights of privacy and protection
of sources.


We encourage bloggers around the world to translate this
Declaration into different languages. If you do so please let us know by
posting the link to your translation in the
comments section below.


RSF says it hopes this declaration will provoke discussion in the run-up to the World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS).




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