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[liberationtech] Sign the Freedom of Information and Expression-Declaration!
Jillian C. York
jilliancyork at gmail.com
Thu Apr 3 12:52:17 PDT 2014
On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 11:36 AM, Christian Fuchs <christian.fuchs at uti.at>wrote:
> Thanks for the collection.
> On the one hand I do not see why one should stop declaring and petitioning
> as long as the world is bad and the Internet endangered.
I agree with you, but given that yours is posted as an Avaaz petition, it
is obviously meant to face the public...and I think that we're far better
off working together on public education then confusing them through
> On the other hand there is a qualitative difference between neoliberal
> declarations that want to fully open up the Internet to corporate
> domination (e.g. Toffler...) and others that try to save it from such
Well, there we agree :)
> Cheers, CF
> On 03/04/2014 19:27, Jillian C. York wrote:
>> Just out of curiosity, why another Declaration? Don't get me wrong, I
>> don't think there's any harm here, but there are at least half a dozen
>> similar projects, most of which have been done in the past few years.
>> On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 8:58 AM, Christian Fuchs <christian.fuchs at uti.at
>> <mailto:christian.fuchs at uti.at>> wrote:
>> The information society, the Internet and the media are today
>> largely controlled by large corporations such as Google and Facebook
>> and a state-industrial complex. The control mechanisms unveiled by
>> Edward Snowden, the closure of and attack against public service
>> media, repression against critcal journalists, online platforms and
>> activists, and a highly centralised Internet and media economy are
>> characteristic for this situation.
>> We live in an unfree information society with limits to expression
>> and an unfree Internet.
>> Sign the Freedom of Information and Expression Declaration that
>> demands a free Internet, free media and a free information society!
>> The 2014 Vienna Declaration on Freedom of Information and Expression
>> More information and videos of talks from the Freedom of Information
>> The 2014 Vienna Declaration on Freedom of Information and Expression
>> This petition can be signed online at
>> We, the speakers of the Vienna 2014 International Conference
>> “Freedom of Information Under Pressure. Control – Crisis – Culture”
>> (comprised of international academics, media practitioners,
>> librarians, experts of open culture and public space, activists,
>> critical citizens, lawyers and policy makers), sign the following
>> Declaration on Freedom of Information and Expression:
>> Having met in Vienna of Austria on 28 February and 1 March 2014 and
>> having discussed the challenges of freedom of information in the
>> light of the recent surveillance revelations and the increase in
>> censorship and prosecutions of media, journalists and
>> whistle-blowers in Europe and beyond, we express our deep concern
>> and appeal for public vigilance to defend freedom of information and
>> expression as key democratic rights.
>> We consider Edward Snowden’s revelations as a wake up call. His
>> story is not about one man leaking classified information; rather it
>> is about privacy, civil liberties, power and democracy. But also
>> about the future of the Internet itself, the nature of democratic
>> oversight - and much more.
>> We condemn the existence of a surveillance-industrial complex, in
>> which the American, British and other European states’ intelligence
>> services conduct mass surveillance of the Internet, social media,
>> mobile and landline telephones, in co-operation with communications
>> corporations such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Skype,
>> Yahoo!, Aol as well as private security firms.
>> We express our solidarity and support to whistle-blowers,
>> journalists and organisations, including Julian Assange, Edward
>> Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, the
>> Guardian and others, for their efforts towards fostering
>> transparency and public accountability. We denounce their oppression
>> and prosecution that we consider as a major threat to freedom of
>> We observe a great paradox of the media in the 21st century:
>> although more people than ever have the means to express themselves
>> freely, there are huge power asymmetries that favour corporate and
>> state control of the media: journalists in Europe and many other
>> regions face an alarming increase in violent attacks, intimidation,
>> legal threats and other restrictions on their work. Among the
>> important factors of this paradox are the growth of anti-terrorism
>> laws and new nationalisms, the fusion of political, economic and
>> media power, and the weakening of the authority of critical and
>> high-quality media, including independent media, investigative
>> journalism and public service media. Furthermore, the Internet and
>> social media are largely controlled by corporations and there is not
>> enough material support for alternative Internet and media projects.
>> This mix seems to represent an existential challenge to critical
>> media, independent journalism and to the established framework of
>> international laws and safeguards for press freedom and the freedoms
>> of expression, speech, information and opinion.
>> We point out that the current crisis and austerity policies have a
>> serious negative effect on important democratic freedoms. The
>> official political reactions to the crisis have given grounds for
>> the further centralisation of corporate, state and media power that
>> undermine the freedom of information and further the prosecutions of
>> citizens, activists, journalists and the media. We particularly
>> condemn attempts to limit or close down critical, independent and
>> public service media. The Greek government’s closure of the public
>> service broadcaster ERT is in this respect a particularly alarming
>> We stress that under the conditions of corporatisation and
>> bureaucratisation, the potentials created by access to information
>> and public knowledge are hampered. In many countries and at a
>> transnational level we lack adequate laws for the transparency of
>> corporate and state power and citizens’ access to information about
>> it in order to hold those in power accountable.
>> A particularly alarming development of the limitation of freedom of
>> information can be found in the world of libraries: large corporate
>> publishers tend to license access to academic and literary works
>> only in expensive bundles and make the access to easy-to-use e-books
>> difficult and expensive. The result is a limit of public access to
>> cultural works so that people have more and more to rely on
>> purchasing books and articles, which is a matter of purchasing power
>> that disadvantages many citizens. The corporate power of publishing
>> houses thereby limits the public’s right to inform itself.
>> We consider that the right of access to information can promote
>> citizens’ civic and political participation by raising their levels
>> of trust in political and policy-making institutions, while it can
>> fight phenomena such as lobbying and corruption. Open access to
>> public and digitised knowledge and scholarly research is also
>> crucial for the continuous education of the broader public and
>> professionals, the promotion of cultural production and diversity
>> and the preservation of the historic and collective memory. New
>> social media, libraries and archives can and should play an
>> important role in this field.
>> We are convinced that freedom of information is a value worth
>> struggling for and that the current framework and developments
>> strongly threaten freedom, democracy and basic civil liberties.
>> A free culture, a free economy of information and a free polity of
>> information are possible!
>> First signees:
>> Antonis Broumas (Attorney at law, Digital Liberation Network, Greece)
>> Arne Hintz (Lecturer, University of Cardiff, UK)
>> Augustine Zenakos (Journalist, UNFOLLOW magazine, Greece)
>> Barbara Trionfi (Press Freedom Manager, International Press Institute)
>> Christian Fuchs (Professor of Social Media, University of
>> Westminster, UK)
>> Dimitris Tsapogas (Researcher, University of Vienna, Austria)
>> Gerfried Sperl (Journalist, PHOENIX, Austria)
>> Gill Phillips (Director of Editorial Legal Service, The Guardian,
>> United Kingdom)
>> Joachim Losehand (Scholar, VIBE!at, Austria)
>> Kostas Arvanitis (Journalist and Director, Sto Kokkino Radio, Greece)
>> Kostas Efimeros (Publisher, The Press Project, Greece)
>> Lisa Schilhan (VÖB, University of Graz, Austria)
>> Mariniki Alevizopoulou (Journalist, UNFOLLOW magazine, Greece)
>> Minas Samatas (Professor, University of Crete, Greece)
>> Miyase Christensen (Professor, Stockholm University, Royal Institute
>> of Technology, Sweden, London School of Economics, UK)
>> Nikolaus Hamann (Vienna Public Libraries, KRIBIBI, Austria)
>> Paloma Fernández de la Hoz (Catholic Social Academy, Austria)
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>> "We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible if we want
>> the seemingly impossible to become a reality" - /Vaclav Havel/
"We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible if we want the
seemingly impossible to become a reality" - *Vaclav Havel*
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