IFLA Position on Internet Governance (2005)

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  1. As the peak international professional association concerned with information and library services, IFLA represents institutions worldwide that endeavour to provide access to all publicly available information, whether factual or fictional, and regardless of media or format.

    Networked digital resources have become a critically important basis for the information services delivered by libraries, and in many countries public and educational libraries are the major or only agencies that provide the general population with free or affordable access to these resources. In doing so, they make a huge contribution to cultural, social and economic development.

    IFLA therefore has a direct interest in the future governance of the Internet.

  2. IFLA opposes any measures which would lead to control of information access and free expression by commercial, governmental or sectoral interests. Measures which may be necessary to ensure the reliable operation of the Internet, control spam, support intellectual property protection and enable individuals to protect their privacy must not be used to limit the rights expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially those in Article 19.
  3. IFLA supports the development of the Internet as a reliable multilingual system which will be available to all and will facilitate unrestricted access to information by all peoples in their languages of choice.
  4. In regard to the proposed approaches to the governance of the Internet, IFLA supports a multistakeholder approach which involves governments, civil society and business and which offers a path for increasing participation by those interests in all countries as the capacity to participate develops. IFLA consequently endorses both the forum and the principles for global public policy and oversight proposed in the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) report but emphasises the need for effective representation of the stakeholder interests.
  5. As a voice for the 2.5 billion registered library users across the world and an United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) accredited international professional organisation, IFLA is available to assist with the development of effective models for Internet governance.

Alex Byrne
IFLA President

21 September 2005

Statements, WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society), Internet governance, Access to information

Last update: 15 March 2016