All over the world, many people use the Internet to connect, communicate, and interact; can be said to have directly contributed to the enjoyment of human rights, especially in the area of freedom of expression.
The Internet is a medium that has tremendous potential for promoting individual freedom and individual empowerment and everyone should be left in control of the way in which uses it. The free and open internet is a powerful tool for everyone fighting for social change, helping to advance the fight for transparency, human rights, good governance and in holding governments accountable. Unfortunately, as online activism reaches a new height, online freedom of expression is under serious threat from both state and non-state actors.
Our right to Internet freedom, which includes digital rights, freedom of information, the right to internet access, freedom from internet censorship and net neutrality, is constantly being challenged by governmental suppression of accessibility and organized infringement on our ability to openly express and share ideas. Increasingly, internet users especially journalists, bloggers and activists, who criticise government and state officials suffer attacks, arrests, detentions and abductions for the contents of their posts online.
I didn’t know that there were actually a lot of activists and organizations that are fighting to maintain our freedoms online like EFF, Turkey Blocks, Freedom House, Movements. Neither I didn’t know that something like the internet freedom festival exists which, according to its page, it is one the largest, most diverse, and most inclusive unconferences in the world and every year brings together more than a thousand activists, journalists, technologists, policy advocates, digital safety trainers, designers and human rights defenders from over 100 countries who defend digital rights.
It is a pity that it happens on many occasions that these activists trying to do good and seek for a better and more transparent world, end up getting into big problems as prison sentences, demands or even death because they mess with the wrong people. Like the sad case of Aaron Swartz that for me will always be in doubt if it really was a suicide.