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Tuesday, November 26 • 11:40 - 13:00
Combating internet shutdowns, social media taxes, and censorship

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Session organized by the B Team and Access Now

Webcast of the session:
Meeting link
Meeting number: 841 558 315
Password: smgwPdAP

Short description of the session
This session will look at the unique ways in which governments are using internet shutdowns, taxes on social media, and censorship laws to attack freedom of expression. Due to the methods governments are employing to limit speech, telecommunication and social media industries are often caught in the middle of potential widespread violations of freedom of expression. We will invite company representatives to explore the unique role of telecommunication and social media platforms in addressing these threats and finding solutions to honour the principles of internationally recognized human rights.

Session objectives
  • To unpack what good corporate leadership looks like on this issue by bringing company representatives to discuss how they are confronting threats to freedom of expression.
  • To highlight how civil society and the private sector can meaningfully work together to prevent and mitigate these abusive government tactics when they occur.
  • To share key elements of the “business case” for civic freedoms so that CSOs reps can gain skills in advocating to the private sector on these issues.
  • For the company reps in the room we would work to engage them to join the Business Network for the Protection of Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders.

Key discussion questions
  • How can companies be most effective when speaking out against government policies that violate human rights?
  • What are key considerations for companies’ human rights due diligence in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights?
  • How can companies mitigate the risks of misuse of their technology to violate human rights and avoid becoming involved in adverse human rights impacts?
  • What role can the private sector play in combating internet shutdowns and social media taxes?
  • What role can multi-stakeholder initiatives play in protecting freedom of expression and right to privacy? Where do you think MSIs could be doing a better job?
  • How can companies build stronger relationships with civil society organizations and human rights defenders?

Format of the session
Panel discussion with audience Q and A.

Background to the discussion
This session will look at the unique ways in which governments are using internet shutdowns, taxes on social media, and censorship laws to attack freedom of expression. Due to the methods governments are employing to limit speech, telecommunication and social media industries are often caught in the middle of potential widespread violation of freedom of expression. We will invite company representatives to explore the unique role of telecommunication and social media platforms in addressing these threats and finding solutions to honour the principles of internationally recognized human rights.
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We would like to unpack what good corporate leadership looks like on this issue by bringing company representatives to discuss how their companies are confronting front these threats. The goal would be to show how civil society and the private sector can meaningfully work together to prevent and mitigate these abusive government tactics when they occur. We would also like to highlight the ways in which the private sector benefits from civic space and environments where rights are respected in order to catalyze more company action on this issue.

We will share key elements of the “business case” for civic freedoms so that CSOs reps can gain skills in advocating to the private sector on these issues. For the company reps in the room we would work to engage them to join Business Network for the Protection of Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders. Lastly, we would like to enable interested stakeholders to further shape this work and propose how we can expand the circle of committed leaders and companies working to protect civic rights.


Moderators
avatar for Annabel Lee Hogg

Annabel Lee Hogg

Cause Strategist, Governance and Human Rights, The B Team
Dibanhi Andrade tiene 21 años y es estudiante de la Licenciatura en Derecho y Función Pública. Actualmente es la Representante del Comisionado de Formación Integral en la FEUDEM. Durante su estancia en la UDEM ha formado parte de diversos grupos estudiantiles dentro del Centro... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens

Board Chair, Global Networking Initiative
Mark Stephens, CBE is the Independent Board Chair of the Global Network Initiative. A British lawyer specializing in international commercial dispute resolution, media law, human rights and intellectual property, Mark has undertaken some of the highest profile cases in the UK and... Read More →
avatar for Berhan Taye

Berhan Taye

Campaigner, #KeepItOn Lead, Access Now
Berhan Taye leads Access Now’s #KeepItOn campaign, a global campaign to stop internet shutdowns and censorship with a coalition of more than 150 member organizations from across the world. Before joining Access Now, she was a researcher for the Technology for Social Justice Field... Read More →
avatar for Alex Warofka

Alex Warofka

Product Policy Manager, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression, Facebook
Alex Warofka works at the intersection of human rights and technology, with a focus on content regulation, transparency, and the role of social media in conflict. He is currently Product Policy Manager for Human Rights at Facebook, and represents Facebook on the board of the Global... Read More →
avatar for Laura Okkonen

Laura Okkonen

Senior Human Rights Manager, Vodafone
A Business & Human Rights subject matter expert working in the ICT sector. A Finn based in the UK.
avatar for Theo Jaekel

Theo Jaekel

Corporate Responsibility Expert - Business and Human Rights, Ericsson
Legal counsel responsible for human rights at group level, across Ericsson's value chain. This includes issues related to responsible sourcing and the end use of Ericsson technology.


Tuesday November 26, 2019 11:40 - 13:00 CET
Room XXII