The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted more than sixty years ago, but its words still ring true today – almost as though they were crafted with the Internet in mind:
“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.” (Article 19)Today is World Press Freedom Day 2011 – an event marking the central role that free and independent media play in building and maintaining democratic movements and nations.
This year’s theme is digital media – a particularly appropriate focus in a year that has seen the Internet play a crucial role in helping people to organize against dictators in the Middle East and North Africa. A free and open Internet is just one tool, but it has proved itself to be truly powerful over the past few months.
World Press Freedom Day is a date to recognize those who strive to advance the cause of freedom of expression and keep the flow of information open and unfettered. That includes efforts by groups that aim to investigate and expose Internet filtering and surveillance practices, as well as those who work to protect journalists and measure press freedom around the world.
For our part, Google is committed to providing the information that citizens around the globe need to understand the world and participate in the governing of their societies. We’re happy to join the UN Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, UNESCO and all the other partners to mark today’s occasion.