World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


New Curbs on Free Expression Arise With New Technologies

New Curbs on Free Expression Have Surfaced With New Technologies – UN

New York, Mar 25 2014 - While technological progress and innovative business models have expanded opportunities for freedom expression, they have also allowed for new threats to emerge in the form of Internet censorship, filtering, blocking, and surveillance, warns the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Freedom of expression is essential to dignity, dialogue, democracy and sustainable development,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, appealing for renewed commitment to support press freedom at the launch of the report in Stockholm earlier today.

“We need to act on the ground – to strengthen national legislative frameworks, to train journalists, to build capacity and advance media and information literacy. We must continue to support media independence by promoting professional standards and self-regulation,” she said.

The report, World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development, hails the opportunities that new technologies have opened up, empowering individuals through unprecedented ways to access, produce and share media content across multiple platforms.

But at the same time, UNESCO warns in a press release, “the increasing control of online content by Internet intermediaries, such as search engines and social media networks, threatens transparency in the free flow of information and raises concerns about the “privatization of censorship.”

According to the report, journalists and online media actors face new threats related to their safety in the digital sphere.

With a special focus on global media and the gender dimensions of press freedom, the study was spearheaded by UNESCO, in partnership with an advisory group of 27 international experts from civil society and academia and with the support of the Government of Sweden. It analyses trends in media freedom worldwide since 2007 from four angles: freedom, pluralism, independence and the safety of journalists.

The report reveals that despite the continued economic dominance of a handful of companies in both traditional and online media, the vast expansion of information sources and platforms has positively impacted media pluralism. Nonetheless, press freedom “lost momentum in some regions that have experienced political transitions,” and the laws meant to protect it have not always been effectively implemented, UNESCO warns, adding that “direct and self-censorship remain challenges to journalists worldwide.”

Furthermore, while new business models have facilitated the emergence of independent reporters, for example through non-profit investigative journalistic organizations, the report denounces that “State or public advertising continue to affect independent reporting.”

The study applauds the growing awareness of the importance of journalists’ safety throughout the world since 2007, due in large part to the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

However, the number of journalist killings has continued to rise. According to UNESCO’s data, 430 journalists were killed between 2007 and 2012, including 23 women, who face rising forms of intimidation and abuse, including sexual assault. Although conflict zones remain the most dangerous places for journalists, between 2007 and 2011 more were killed outside of these areas, and impunity for these crimes remains the norm, the report notes.

For more details go to UN News Centre at


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: America, The Gated

How, in a global metropolis like New York, do you write about immigration as a problem to be solved? And yet immigration is a hot button issue among those fighting to break away from the unruly clump of starters in the race for Republican nominee. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: US Bomb Strikes Hospital In Kunduz

According to US military sources, “there may have been collateral damage” to the medical facility. “This incident is under investigation.” A statement issued by the office of the President Ashraf Ghani said that Army General John Campbell, chief of US-led forces in Afghanistan, apologised. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: The Fall Of Tony Abbott

The question was one of timing. The Coalition had been registering losses in poll after poll. The Abbott style hardly improved after a spill was forced on the party. Despite claiming that he would be ushering in a spring clean, he continued bypassing ministers and MPs... More>>



Pacific.Scoop: Smaller Pacific States Call For Coal Moratorium

PNG Loop: Leaders of the Pacific Smaller Island States have called on all nations – especially the advanced economies in the region – to rise to the challenge of climate change. They want to steer the world on a path where climate change is no longer a threat to earth. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news