September 20, 2021
Washington D.C. – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is pleased to announce the launch of the Dialogue of the Americas on Freedom of Expression on the Internet. This initiative, which is open and multisectoral in nature, arises to address the challenges currently presented by digital technologies for the exercise of human rights in the region.
On February 5, 2021, the IACHR and its SRFOE warned that freedom of expression on the Internet in the hemisphere is at an inflection point characterized, among other aspects, by the deterioration of public debate; the dilemmas on content moderation and its compatibility with democratic and human rights standards; and the lack of efforts to make progress on digital literacy oriented towards the development of civic skills. Pursuant to the general mandate of the Office of the Special Rapporteur, linked to the protection and promotion of the right to freedom of thought and expression in the hemisphere, the IACHR instructed the SRFOE to give attention to these three thematic axes and to chart a path for an inter-American dialogue that includes a working group integrated by States, civil society, regulators, and technology platforms. Since then and to date, the Office has worked in the preparation phase of the Dialogue, which involved the delimitation of the thematic axes and the establishment of an agenda.
Starting today and in the next eight weeks, the Dialogue will propose various open virtual activities through its website www.americasdialogue.org. At the end of this period, and in what will be the last phase of the process, an ad-hoc working group is expected to be formed. This group will analyze and discuss the inputs received, and then develop an action plan that can be suggested to the IACHR. At the close of said process, the Commission will evaluate within the mechanisms at its disposal the one it considers most suitable to propose inter-American standards to address these challenges.
The Office of the Special Rapporteur encourages different stakeholders to accompany and actively participate in the initial activities that will be open from now on, and to navigate the different sections and tools of the Dialogue, which include:
Welcome page: here is the introductory video to the Dialogue by the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Pedro Vaca Villareal, which explains the objectives and the way in which the dialogue will be developed.
Concept Note: this is the starting point of the conversation and presents the context on the approach that is intended to be covered in the discussion.
Knowledge Hub: offers a non-exhaustive list of reference materials to reduce the inequality of knowledge on each of the thematic axes. The Office of the Special Rapporteur extends an invitation for contributions such as academic research, multimedia material, curricula, manuals, standards, and recommendations, as well as instruments of international law.
Interviews: presents opinions and perspectives of experts on each thematic axis.
Polls and Discussion Forums: every two weeks, the Dialogue of the Americas will present a set of questions to encourage collection, knowledge sharing, and multi-stakeholder debate on each of the thematic axes. All stakeholders, regardless of sector or level of experience, are invited to contribute inputs.
News: its purpose is to share news from the SRFOE or its Dialogue partners.
Reports for monitoring and analysis: cases related to the three thematic axes will be received, which will not be published, but will be used for the study and analysis of the different topics, and considered in the planning of the next Dialogue events.
Finally, the Office of the Special Rapporteur invites all those interested in learning more about the process, to subscribe to the official mailing list of the Dialogue of the Americas and to follow its social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube).
The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression is an office created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to encourage the hemispheric defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression, considering its fundamental role in the consolidation and development of the democratic system.