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IFLA and the Information Society

Libraries, WSIS and Internet Governance

Photo courtesy of Cook Jones

Libraries have been at the heart of the information society since the very early days of the information and communication technology revolution, continuously adapting to new means of communication to fulfill their mandate of providing universal access to information and knowledge.

Since 2002, IFLA has contributed to the definition of information society policy at the international level through its participation in the World Summit Information Society (WSIS). Consequently, the WSIS Tunis Agenda recognized the important public-service role of libraries in providing open, equitable and affordable access to information and of improving ICT literacy and community connectivity, particularly in underserved communities. IFLA’s statements on the information society during the first period of WSIS tell the story of our engagement between 2002-2005.

Since 2005, IFLA has continued to engage at the International level to define the policies and strategies to achieve the WSIS Plan of Action and build an inclusive information society. Through its participation in the WSIS Forum, the WSIS+10 Review process and in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), IFLA advocates for the recognition of public access to the Internet as a key for addressing the challenges of development and reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals. In January 2013 the IFLA Governing Board endorsed a revised Position on Internet Governance which states clearly the issues IFLA believes should be addressed in any post WSIS framework.

IFLA continues to engage on issues that affect the ability of libraries and library users to benefit from the possibilities that the Internet offers. The Principles on Public Access in Libraries, agreed by a coalition of actors, sets out how to help more people to get online. IFLA also sets out positions and makes recommendations on issues that affect access to knowledge online, such as the Right to Be Forgotten, and Net Neutrality.

These webpages contain background information on the WSIS and IGF and why librarians should pay attention to the discussions that take place in these forums, as well as information on what IFLA is doing to promote libraries as part of its information society advocacy. They also outline how you can get involved to get the library viewpoint across.

Access to information, Advocacy, Internet access, Information society

Last update: 13 August 2016

Latest News

Open, Transparent and Free: Libraries Defend an Internet that Works for Users at LACIGF

Given libraries’ contribution to expanding access – and reliance on the right laws and infrastructures – they have an important place in discussions about the future of the Internet. The Latin America and Caribbean Internet Governance Forum is no exception. IFLA’s representatives at the latest edition provided the following report.

22 August 2018

IFLA Secretary-General Welcomes Naming of Michelle Bachelet as Human Rights Commissioner

Defending, promoting and respecting human rights is fundamental for libraries. IFLA strongly supports the work of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to identify and criticise abuses at the highest level. The naming of Michelle Bachelet to the role of High Commissioner offers hope that the pressure for improvement will grow stronger in years to come.

22 August 2018 | FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Human rights, Privacy, Freedom of access to information, Freedom of expression, Education

Internet for People: IFLA signs onto joint letter to G20 Presidency

IFLA has added its name to a letter to Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina and host of the G20 – a gathering of the governments of the world’s biggest economies. The letter sets out a number of areas where policy-makers should act to ensure the Internet works, first and foremost, for its users.

17 June 2018 | FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Censorship, Argentina, Internet governance, Freedom of expression, Privacy