In many national contexts, citizens are seen to be either “with the government or against it,” leaving little opportunity to freely and safely express more nuanced views of current social, political or economic issues. While notable authoritarian regimes quite transparently monitor and limit societal discussion, others, ostensibly democratic, may work in practice to blunt potentially unfavourable social commentary on the pretence of defending political stability or public morality. IFLA’s Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) Advisory Committee explores this phenomenon–and the potential role of civil society and information professionals in advancing freedom of expression–through the experience and insights of an NGO leader, an academic public intellectual, and an officer of UNESCO. 

Chair: Martyn Wade (United Kingdom)

1. Internet and the freedom of expression in Indonesia: opportunity and challenges Indriaswati Dyah Saptaningrum (University of New South Wales; former Executive Director of the ELSAM human rights organization (Indonesia), Australia)

2. Freedom of Expression in Malaysia Azmi Bin Sharom (Faculty of Law, University of Malaysia, Malaysia)

3. TBA Swaraj Paul Barooah (The Centre for Internet and Society, India)

4. How to align national laws with international standards on freedom of expression? Ming-Kuok Lim (Programme Specialist for Communication and Information, UNESCO, Indonesia)