New report on internet and democracy is dedicated to the Arab revolutions

Launching on December 10 --Human Rights Day-- the Global Information Society Watch 2011 report investigates how governments and internet and mobile phone companies are trying to restrict freedom online -- and how citizens are responding to this using the very same technologies.

Everyone is familiar with the stories of Egypt and Tunisia. GISWatch authors tell these and other lesser-known stories from over fifty countries including:


  • PRISON CONDITIONS IN ARGENTINA Prisoners are using the internet protest living conditions and demand respect for their rights.

  • TORTURE IN INDONESIA The torture of two West Papuan farmers was recorded on a mobile phone and leaked to the internet. The video spread to well-known human rights sites sparking public outrage and a formal investigation by the authorities.

  • THE TSUNAMI IN JAPAN Citizens used social media to share actionable information during the devastating tsunami, and in the aftermath online discussions contradicted misleading reports coming from state authorities.

Other countries include China, Iran, Lebanon and Pakistan.


“Written by internationally-renowned experts, the report brings its readers easy-to-read and yet comprehensive articles, many with policy proposals, on the most important challenges protecting human rights on the internet is facing today,” says lawyer Matthias C. Kettemann, co-chair of the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition. “The report's country studies –which are in turn saddening, moving, uplifting-- shed light on how the internet can truly be a catalyst for change – and how it can be misused.”


In his preface to the report Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression says GISWatch 2011 offers timely commentary on the future of the internet as an open and shared platform that everyone has the right to access.


GISWatch 2011 also includes expert reports from:



Global Information Society Watch 2011

Internet rights and democratisation - Focus on freedom of expression and association online

Published by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and Hivos


The report is available online for download from December 8. Watch this space for information about how you can buy a paperback copy.



Members of the media may obtain print copies of this and previous reports on request and interviews can be arranged with authors by writing to

Karen Higgs, APC communications manager