[IRPCoalition] [bestbits] free flow of information @ Netmundial - Civil Society major issues

Matthias C. Kettemann matthias.kettemann at gmail.com
Tue Apr 15 19:15:20 EEST 2014

I'm not sure I agree. I think the case can be made that "free flow of
information" is an implied condition for everyone to seek, receive, impart
information (Article 19 UDHR).  This argument is strengthened by the the
language of Art. 19 (2) ICCPR ..... freedom "to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally,
in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of
his choice". That sounds very much like being premised upon the free flow
of information. A UN resolution doesn't instantly change the character of a
right. The UDHR is by and large customary law, the ICCPR signed by
practically all states. Further, the free flow of information is an
essential precondition to exercisizing FoE online - the 2011 and 2012
Special Rapporteur reports by Frank La Rue are helpful in explaining this.
So: custom and treaty (and some recent explaining by the Special
Rapporteur): You won't get much stronger commitments in international law.

Kind regards

On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 6:06 PM, Jeanette Hofmann <jeanette at wzb.eu> wrote:

> Hi Anne,
> I have argued for integrating Human Rights language into the draft
> document. "Free flow of information" is not part of any UN resolution and
> thus not the same as the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Free
> flow of information neither implies enforceable rights nor does is it imply
> any obligations of governments. Language is very important when it comes to
> human rights.
> jeanette
> Am 15.04.2014 16:33, schrieb Anne Jellema:
>> Jeanette, thanks - the example serves your purpose of illustrating the
>> complexity of positioning  in the textual negotiations. On a side note,
>> though, I'm surprised to hear you say that you have opposed free flow of
>> information on grounds that it is not a human right. Article 19 of the
>> UDHR states that:
>> Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right
>> includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and */to seek,
>> receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
>> regardless of frontiers/*.
>> Best
>> Anne
>> On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 3:46 PM, Jeanette Hofmann <jeanette at wzb.eu
>> <mailto:jeanette at wzb.eu>> wrote:
>>     Hi,
>>     Am 15.04.2014 14:54, schrieb parminder:
>>         Not only net neutrality has been removed,
>>     'free flow of information' which figured twice in the earlier
>>     (leaked) draft has been removed from both places..
>>     in my capacity as a HLMC member I have spoken up against free flow
>>     of information in the human rights section because free flow of
>>     information is not a human right. Ironically, someone from the
>>     business sector objected to removing this term from the human rights
>>     section.
>>     I am reporting this to illustrate that the negotiation of the text
>>     hasn't always followed the distribution of power and interest that
>>     some on this list may assume. The draft document represents
>>     victories and defeats on all sides.
>>     jeanette
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>> Anne Jellema
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Dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard)
Post-Doc Fellow | Cluster of Excellence
University of Frankfurt/Main
Lecturer | Institute of International Law and International Relations,
University of Graz <http://voelkerrecht.uni-graz.at/en/>
Research Affiliate | European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights
and Democracy, University of

Exzellenzcluster "Normative Ordnungen", Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main
EXC-8, Grüneburgplatz 1
60323 Frankfurt/Main, Deutschland

E | matthias.kettemann at gmail.com
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Blog <http://internationallawandtheinternet.blogspot.com/> |
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Recent publications:
Freedom of Expression and the Internet (2014,
Bestand und Wandel im Völkerrecht [Continuity and Change in Int'l Law]
(2014, co-editor)<http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?event=cmp.ccc.seitenstruktur.detailseiten&seitentyp=produkt&pk=77956&concordeid=264568>
Netzpolitik in Österreich [Net Politics in Austria] (2013,
Grenzen im Völkerrecht [Limits of International Law] (2013,
The Future of Individuals in International Law
European Yearbook on Human Rights 2013 (2013,
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