Connected Citizenship: Digital Literacy and the Role of States

Organized by:  The Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR (CIDH|RELE) 

Date: December 03, 2021

Time: 11:00 am to 12:30 pm hrs. Washington D.C.

Registration: Access link will be sent soon

Interpretation: available 

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and its Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RELE) recognize that the region is at a turning point that requires attention to the impact of digital technologies and the Internet on the exercise of human rights and the exercise of democracy. In accordance with their mandates, efforts have been focused on promoting guarantees of freedom of expression in digital spaces, monitoring possible limitations and warning about the consequences of stigmatizing speech online.

In order to open the discussion and offer recommendations from the Inter-American Human Rights System, RELE has convened a variety of actors to participate in a multi-sectoral dialogue – the Dialogue of the Americas on freedom of expression on the Internet that will take place virtually throughout the second half of 2021. Among the Dialogue’s axes, digital literacy for the development of civic skills is understood as the set of skills, knowledge and attitudes that a person needs to functionally develop within the information society, so that he or she can use technology in the creation of social and economic opportunities. See the Dialogue of the Americas on freedom of expression on the Internet here

However, even though the number of users who share and consume content on the Internet has grown exponentially, it seems that there is an urgent need to reflect on the skills and abilities that we should forge as democratic societies, in order to promote plural participation as an online value and the construction of critical citizenship. Hence, digital literacy is one of the guidelines that can contribute to reduce or eliminate the digital divide that exists in relation to access and knowledge about the use of new technologies. This implies that users (being both recipients and producers of content) have access to the Internet without undue interference from private parties and with sufficient technical skills to effectively exercise their rights.

This event will be a space to reflect on the skills of critical analysis and understanding of policies on digital platforms, and those related to the creation and adaptation of new technologies. Likewise, it is expected to be a space to examine the challenges related to inclusive Internet access; the influence of States, public and private institutions regarding budget distribution or public procurement; adequate infrastructure and the generation gap, as well as other factors that hinder digital inclusion. 


11:00 am – 11:10 am |  Opening and positioning of the topic: Digital literacy for the development of civic skills

  • Pedro Vaca Villareal, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

11:10 am – 12:10 pm | PANEL |

State as promoter of the right to education and the Internet : What is the role and responsibility of governments with digital education as a right, guaranteeing other rights such as data protection of students? 

Moderator: Pedro Vaca Villareal

  • Bruno Ramos, Regional Director Regional Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for the Americas. (TBC)
  • Alexandre Barbosa, Manager of the Regional Center of Studies for the Development of the Information Society – | (TBC)
  • Representative of Canada (TBC)
  • Representative of Chile (TBC)
  • Representative of Costa Rica (TBC)

12:10 pm – 12: 25 pm | Round of questions from the audience and comments

12:25 pm – 12:30 pm | Closing remarks