[IRP] Some punch

Lisa Horner LisaH
Mon Oct 4 13:40:42 EEST 2010

Hi Parminder and all

Thanks for these comments.  I agree with you that it's not common place to put things like "we're not looking to create new rights" in a preamble.  But I think it's there to make it clear what the project is about, and to answer the common question as to whether that's what we're doing.  It has been a question that's come up time and time again, so in the initial drafting process people felt it should be clear up front.  But I agree it's a bit odd to include it in the preamble.  I think perhaps we need a more general "introduction" section (or background, or even at the end as an annex) to explain the process, background and rationale of the approach.  Then we can keep the preamble more punchy and inspiring.  Or we could remove the bit about new rights as Parminder suggests. (I personally think we still need it in there somewhere...it's been such a bone of contention).  What do people think?  And should these changes be made for version 1.1, or wait until 2.0?

RE the other comments - they're really important points.  Could you agree to include them in the consultation process, and then we can make the necessary changes for version 2.0?  Version 1.1 was intended to incorporate urgent issues (mistakes, contradictions, misleading comments).    So we'll add your suggestions to the compilation of comments for 2.0 if that's ok.

RE right to Internet...I completely hear what you're saying.  I think it's something that would benefit from more discussion. ...it should be a specific issue we consult on amongst us and other groups. As we're translating existing rights standards, it's a case of whether there's enough consensus as to whether it is a right under existing standards (e.g. as we have a right to free expression, adequate standards of living etc etc, we have a right to the internet under states' obligations to fulfil rights), or whether we can just say that it should be a right at this stage.  I agree that we should be as progressive and inspiring as possible, but we have to work within the bounds of the project in terms of translating existing standards.  We of course also need to bear in mind the difference between human rights and other legal rights.  We definitely need to revisit our language and conditionalities (re "affordable conditions" etc), and be consistent in our language ("rights", "ares" and "shoulds").

RE threat to open architecture - I agree.

As you know, we're keeping track of comments, so if anyone has any thoughts on this now, feel free to send them through...you don't have to wait for the consultation process to start.

The punchy group has been pulling out what they think are key principles, and will then be whittling them down.  They're not working on the preamble, but we'll need to work out how the two fit in with each other.
Brett - could you give us an update on the work please, and add Parminder to the group?

Thanks and all the best,

From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org [mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of parminder
Sent: 04 October 2010 10:46
To: irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
Subject: Re: [IRP] Some punch

Hi All

I have three comments on the text which are significant enough to be brought to the group. Some other less significant comments will be communicated directly to Lisa and Dixie.

1) I am still not convinced about the logic of the text ' we are creating no new rights'. No human rights document uses such text in its preamble. Preambles have a higher authoritativeness and great interpretative value for the rest of the text. In any case I am not sure how right to access the Internet, and net neutrality kind of rights are not new rights. I will like to know more about the basis of the 'strategic choice' made in this regard that has been mentioned. As a possible via media, I am fine for us to say we are elaborating human rights standards as they apply to the Internet and to the information society, but not expressly say 'we seek to create no new rights'..

2) With courts in many countries - France, Costa Rica etc - have held right to access the Internet as a fundamental right, why should a non-binding forward looking progressive civil society document like this be so defensive on this issue to propose just a right to Internet under affordable conditions. It is not the kind of language a human rights instrument normally uses. A recent poll by BBC found that 4 out of 5 people consider access to the Internet as a fundamental human right. I think we should be bold and forthright, and propose a right to the Internet as a human right.

3) The threat to the open architecture of Internet should be more clearly addressed. That is the single biggest danger looming over us today. I would suggest putting something like the following in the section on net neutrality or net equality (the text is still a bit rough)

Internet is a global commons and its architecture has to be protected and promoted for it to be a vehicle for free, open, equal and non-discriminating exchange of information, communication and culture, with no special privileges for or obstacles against any party or content on economic, social, cultural, or political grounds.

This however does not preclude positive discrimination to promote equity and diversity on and through the Internet.(ends)

Thanks, parminder

On Friday 01 October 2010 08:39 PM, Lisa Horner wrote:

Hi all

I just wanted to say a big thank you to Tapani for this redraft of the preamble.  I think it's really good, and would like to suggest that we use it as the basis of a redraft of the Charter for version 1.1.  Are people happy with that?

I know that our brilliantly-named punchy working group is currently distilling a list of punchy principles to complement our Charter for advocacy, outreach and punchy purposes.  They should be sending us an update of their progress and plan soon.  The punchy text and principles might also be useful to include in the preamble, or should at least be consistent with it.

So I suggest that we wait and see what the punchy group comes up with, and have our discussion about that within the coalition.  Then we can see if/how we can link or coordinate the preamble and punchy work, and include a new punchy preamble in version 1.1.  Does that sound ok?

Also - thanks so much to everyone for their comments, including Vittorio.  They are all extremely useful, and I think this process has been incredibly valuable in bringing us all together to collaborate.

And, at risk of sounding like a broken record, don't forget to send any immediate, specific and serious concerns about the text through for version 1.1 by October 10th!

Punchily yours,


On Wed, 2010-09-22 at 11:36 +0300, Tapani Tarvainen wrote:

Having criticized version 1.0 of the Charter for lack of punch as it

were, I made an effort to see if if I could, er, "punchify" it.

Below is the result.

It is not intended to be "ready" or complete text as such, yet I feel it

is better to present it without explanations or textual alternatives

I considered. I even cut out some parts I didn't feel comfortable

with but couldn't think of a better substitute, for my primary purpose

here is to convey a feeling of the kind of language I'd like to see in

this kind of document, inadequate though I feel my wordsmithing

skills to be for such a task.

I hope it will at least stimulate thoughts on how the text could

be improved.



Internet is a medium people communicate with;

a place where people meet and congregate;

a tool people use for a multitude of purposes.

It is self-evident that universal human rights apply in the Internet

like they do everywhere where there are people,

and that same fundamental principles apply in the Internet

as in all areas of human endeavour.

Yet Internet is different from any other medium yet invented,

different from any other place in the world,

different from any other tool human ingenuity has yet produced,

and it is not always obvious exactly how

human rights and general principles apply to it.

At the same time, Internet's importance has grown to the extent

that it has become a major power in the realization of human rights -

for good and bad.

Thus it is of crucial importance to ensure Internet

governance is based core values of human rights

like human dignity, equality and non-discrimination,

solidarity, diversity, rule of law and social justice.

Hence this Charter: not an attempt to create new rights,

but to reinterpret and explain old ones in a new context:

the Internet.

The rights and principles identified herein are crucial for the

governance of the Internet. They are based on the core values of human

rights like human dignity, equality and non-discrimination,

solidarity, diversity, rule of law and social justice. Everybody needs

to respect, protect and fulfil all the human rights on the Internet,

and to ensure that the Internet operates to evolve in a way that

supports and expands these human rights as an instrument supportive to

human rights.

Internet governance must be guided by internationally

agreed human rights standards, and designed and implemented in an

inclusive process bringing together public administrations,

governments, civil society as well as businesses.

This Charter is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

(UDHR) and subsequent human rights law of the United Nations and work

done by other human rights institutions.

This Charter of Human Rights and Principles on the Internet has been

developed by the Dynamic Coalition on Internet Rights and Principles

and draws inspiration from the APC Internet Rights Charter and other

pertinent documents.

The Charter builds on the WSIS Declaration of Principles of Geneva

and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, which recognises

that Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) present tremendous

opportunities to enable individuals, communities and peoples to

achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable

development and improving their quality of life. Like the WSIS

Declaration, this Charter aims at building a people-centred

information society, which respects and upholds fundamental human

rights that are enshrined in the UDHR.

The Charter is split into two sections. The first interprets human

rights and defines principles for the purposes and concerns of the

information society. The second defines principles and guidelines

addressed to specific stakeholders and technologies.

The Charter is addressed to all actors and stake-holders of Internet

governance, who - according to the Preamble of the UDHR - shall strive

by teaching and education to promote respect for the rights contained

in the UDHR and to secure their universal and effective recognition

and observance.


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