While the European Parliament voted against Net Neutrality amendments that would have safeguarded Net Neutrality in Europe the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), representing some 166 countries through parliamentarians both in government and opposition (including all EU Member States), adopted a resolution on Democracy in the Digital Era where the importance of Net Neutrality is highlighted. The resolution:
“Calls on parliaments to review their national frameworks and State practices with a view to promoting and increasing public participation and involvement in the digital era, free exchange of information, knowledge and ideas and equal access to the Internet and, with a view to enhancing democracy of the 21st century, encourages parliaments to remove all legal limitations on freedom of expression and the flow of information and to uphold the principle of Net neutrality“
Furthermore, the resolution calls on national parliaments to increase cooperation with civil society groups, both in the interests of transparency and strengthening resources of knowledge and expertise:
“Calls on parliaments to acknowledge that civil society and public participation can play a vital role in monitoring the executive branch and encourages parliaments and parliamentarians to promote and engage in consultation and to welcome assistance from all stakeholders, including national human rights institutions, the private sector, civil society, the technical community, the academic community and users, in their monitoring, policy-making and policy implementation efforts“
The IPU also intends to strengthen its collaboration and cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteurs on Privacy and on the Promotion and Protection of the right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.
The resolutioned adopted on the 21st of October is an instrument for parliaments and parliamentarians to utilize on a national level, calling for reviews of national legislative frameworks. The fact that a resolution, aiming to safeguard our online rights and the future of democracy in the digital era, underscores the importance of Net Neutrality is great leverage for parliaments, parliamentarians and civil society organisations fighting for Net Neutrality to be ensured.
Read the full resolution here.