The Declaration of Free Internet signed by key civil society actors in Ukraine

The representatives of civil society and media community in Ukraine signed The Declalaration of Free Internet to support the free development of Internet in Ukraine.

Preamble

For decades, Ukrainian Internet developed in the environment free from state regulation. The Ukrainian Internet market was diversified and competitive, creating conditions for operation of hundreds of Internet providers who ensure the access to the network for users at one of the lowest prices in the world. Gradually, as the number of users increased, data transfer quality improved, and technical components of the infrastructure developed, the Internet became an inseparable part of the life of over 20 million citizens of Ukraine, a catalyst of social processes, an environment for economic activities, and an instrument of introducing accountability of the Ukrainian government. At the same time, in the 21st century, the Internet also became an environment for spreading hate speech, online violence, fake news and misinformation. Today, technological and communicational properties of the Internet may be used for the purposes of informational or cyber warfare against citizens and institutions of any country.

We, the representatives of civil society and media community who signed under this declaration, support the free development of Internet in Ukraine, which includes the acknowledgement of the following:

  • Every person has a right to Internet access;
  • The Internet is one of the key means for implementation of the right of every person to freely receive and spread information and freedom of expression;
  • Free Internet promotes economic growth and increase of the well-being of citizens, makes the country more attractive for investors and promotes the development of small and medium businesses;
  • The Internet is one of the means of implementation of the right of citizens to managing public affairs and to access administrative services;
  • If there are state regulations of the Internet, they have to correspond to European practices and be based on principles of proportionate, necessary, sufficient, and transparent answers to modern challenges and threats that the country faces.

The key principles of free Internet in Ukraine are:

Universality and equality

All people are equal from birth, and their rights must be protected in online environment as much as is regular life.

Accessibility

Every person has the right for unobstructed access to safe and open Internet.

Differentiation of architecture and infrastructure

Every person has the right to freely choose the technology and supplier of Internet services under the conditions of a competitive market protected from monopoly.

Freedom of expression online

Every person has the right to express themselves online, if this does not violate the rights of other users. Every person has the right to collect and share information on the Internet without prior censorship and regardless of their place of residence.

The exercising of this right may be limited by law according to pt.2 Art. 10 of the Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Privacy and Protection of Personal Data
Every person has the right to privacy and protection of personal data of themselves and members of their family, including protection from unsanctioned following and collection of information by service providers and state bodies.

Right to anonymity on the Internet

Every person is guaranteed the possibility to remain anonymous on the Internet.

Standards and regulations

Architecture of the Internet, technical standards, networks formats must be based on equal opportunities for all users.

Social networks

Social networks, user platforms must respect and adhere to human rights. Limited responsibility for transnational intermediaries cannot be applied taking into account interference into human rights and risks for restriction of freedom of speech.

Limitations in case of aggression

Legislative base and procedures applied to Internet resources that come from or are financed or act in the interests of the aggressor state must be transparent and easy to understand. Only resources the activities of which may be directly and obviously interpreted as a component of direct or hidden military aggression may be subject to limitations based on the law. The state must guarantee the procedure to challenge such decision in court. In all controversial cases, the final decision is made by the court.

Regulations

The right to Internet access, as well as main digital rights of users must be ensured in the Constitution of Ukraine.

The right to Internet access corresponds to the basic right to obtain/collect information, ensured in the current version of the Constitution of Ukraine, but is not limited to only these regulations.

Signed by:

  • NGO “Internews Ukraine”
  • NGO “Detector Media”
  • NGO “CEDEM”
  • NGO “Regional Press Development Institute”
  • NGO “Institute of Mass Information”
  • Foundation “Suspilnist”
  • NGO “Centre UA”
  • NGO “Information security”
  • NGO “European media platform”
  • NGO “Vinnytsya agency for investigative reporting”
  • Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy

Kyiv, June 18, 2018

To join the declaration, please send us an email with your name and organization to info@internews.ua

Permanent link to the Declaration: bit.ly/netdeclaration_eng

Permanent link to the Declaration in Ukrainian: bit.ly/netdeclaration_ua

Read also results of expert eurvey on regulation of the Internet and eigital eights in Ukraine conducted in April and May 2018.  

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