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Challenges and opportunities for freedom of expression in the networked environment

1.2 Underpinning Values: What would a public interest communications environment look like?

info: Submitted by Lisa Horner on Thu, 2008-05-29 16:42.

In order to operate in the public interest, public policy has to be underpinned by key shared values. For the networked communications environment, we believe that these values are:

  • Accessibility: People have access to the means of communication necessary to participate in public life11.
  • Diversity and Pluralism: Content contains a diverse and representative range of information, culture and political opinion.
  • Participatory and Transparent Governance: All stakeholders should have opportunities to understand how the environment is structured and governed, and to participate in decision making that affects how it functions and whether it upholds these public interest values.
  • Openness, Creativity and Innovativeness: The environment is enabling, offering maximum opportunities for the development of new technologies, uses, governance structures, knowledge and culture.

These values are rooted in the international human rights framework, supported in particular by the rights to freedom of expression, culture and participation in government12. Each of the policy principles defined below aims to uphold these values. Implementation of the policy principles in different contexts should never undermine the values and should seek to advance them wherever possible.


11 Social, political, cultural and economic life.

12 In legal and philosophical terms, tensions exist between these rights and their expression in the FoE Project values (Lipson, 2008). These will be further explored and worked through in future project work to ensure that the values are firmly rooted in human rights.