This year the annual report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion focuses for the first time on the internet. Over recent decades, the internet has become a platform for shared learning, innovation, and collaborative action for justice. Yet, as the report details, freedom of expression and association on the internet is increasingly at risk.
It is imperative that women’s rights to freedom of expression and association not be restricted. However, many are silenced through acts of violence, sexism and censorship, including emerging forms of violence against women online such as cyberstalking, digital surveillance, and data monitoring. Such abusive practices may be reinforced by a blatant disregard of personal privacy by social networking platforms, by building content filtering tools into network infrastructure, or by the absence of good data protection laws to protect women against surveillance by their partners in domestic violence situations.
We call on all States to take immediate steps to end acts of violence, harassment and other human rights violations committed against women who choose to exercise their right to freedom of expression on the internet.
Image by Shahzad Ahmad, Bytes for All, Pakistan for TakeBackTheTech.net: Pakistani poet and human rights activist Faiz Ahmad Faiz calls for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression.
(The featured articles have been selected from the GenderIT.org Archive.)