Internet Manifesto 2014

1. Library and information services and the Internet

1.1. Library and information services are vibrant institutions that connect people with global and local information resources. They provide access to ideas and creative works and make the richness of human expression and cultural diversity available to everyone.

1.2. The Internet enables individuals and communities throughout the world, whether in the smallest and most remote villages or in the largest cities, to have greater equality of access to information to support personal development, education, cultural enrichment, economic activity, access to government and other services, and informed participation in a democratic society as an active citizen. At the same time the Internet creates opportunities for all to share their own ideas, interests and culture with the world.

1.3. Library and information services should be essential gateways to the Internet, its resources and services. Their role is to act as access points which offer convenience, guidance and support, whilst helping overcome barriers created by differences in resources, technology and skills.

2. Freedom of access to information and freedom of expression are essential to equality, global understanding and peace.

Therefore IFLA asserts that:

2.1. Freedom of access to information and freedom of expression, regardless of format and frontiers, is a central responsibility of the library and information profession.

2.2. The provision of unhindered access to the Internet by library and information services forms a vital element of the right to freedom of access to information and freedom of expression, and supports communities and individuals to attain freedom, prosperity and development.

2.3. Access to the Internet and all its resources should be consistent with the United Nations Universal declaration of Human Rights, and especially Article 19: 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 though any media and regardless of frontiers.

2.4. Barriers to the flow of information should be removed, especially those that prevent individuals from taking advantages of opportunities that will improve their quality of life and can result in inequality and poverty. An open Internet is essential, and access to information and freedom of expression should neither be subject to any form of ideological, political, or religious censorship, nor to economic or technological barriers.

3. The role and responsibilities of library and information services

Library and information services have a vital role in ensuring freedom of access to information and freedom of expression, and have a responsibility to:

  • serve all of the members of their communities, regardless of age, race, nationality, religion, culture, political affiliation, physical or mental abilities, gender or sexual orientation, or other status
  • provide access to the Internet in an appropriate environment for all users
  • support users, including children and young people, to ensure they have the media and information literacy competencies they need to use their chosen information resources freely, confidently and independently
  • support the right of users to seek and share information
  • strive to ensure the privacy of their users, and that the resources and services that they use remain confidential
  • facilitate and promote intellectual, cultural and economic creativity through access to the Internet, its resources and services.

4. Implementing the Manifesto

4.1. IFLA encourages all governments to support the unhindered flow of Internet accessible information and freedom of expression, to ensure openness and transparency by opposing attempts to censor or inhibit access, and ensure that surveillance and data collection are demonstrably legal, necessary and proportionate.

4.2. IFLA calls upon library and information services to work with states, governments, or religious or civil society institutions, to develop strategic policies and plans that support and implement the principles expressed in this manifesto through the development of public access to the Internet in library and information services across the world, and especially in developing countries.

Endorsed by the IFLA Governing Board, August 2014.

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See also: 2002 version and background on the update.

IFLA UNESCO Internet Manifesto Guidelines

IFLA UNESCO Internet Manifesto Guidelines that have been prepared by IFLA/FAIFE and generously sponsored by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme (IFAP); and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The IFLA UNESCO Internet Manifesto Guidelines offer a background and a context to the Internet Manifesto. The Guidelines are available in the following languages:

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NOTE: these guidelines were devised to accompany the original (2002) version of the Internet Manifesto.

Manifestos, FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Internet access, Access to information

Last update: 25 November 2014