IGF2015 : Silent Protest for Net Neutrality Expelled from UN Internet Governance Forum


Brazil: The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) began today in João Pessoa, Brazil. IGF2015 is a UN initiative in which governments, corporations and civil society representatives discuss the future of “multilateral governance of the Internet.”

According to the IGF website “this year’s IGF will focus on a range of sub-themes, including Cybersecurity and Trust; Internet Economy; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Openness; Enhancing Multistakeholder Cooperation; Internet and Human Rights; Critical Internet Resources and Emerging Issues.”

In exercising their freedom of speech, Brazilian civil society organizations and activists held the silent, peaceful protest during the opening session of the 10th Internet Governance Forum (#IGF2015), the event is sponsored by the UN and by the Steering Committee Internet (CGI.Br), in João Pessoa, Paraíba capital.

The protesters at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) raised half a dozen posters and a banner to draw attention to the defense of the principle of net neutrality and the risks that the free flow of information over the Internet has undergone in Brazil and worldwide. They also raised a banner protesting the project financed by Facebook, Internet.org.

The protest was repressed by UN security guards, some even using physical force. Then the activists were filmed, photographed, some were pressured to show their cell phones, an explicit intimidation and violation of privacy. In addition, they also had their badges photographed and confiscated by security and were prevented from participating in the IGF.

VIDEO: Demonstration against Internet.org the IGF is repressed by the UN

Such repression is incompatible with an event that is precisely intended to debate how to protect freedom of expression on the Internet and how to ensure the privacy of those who use the world wide web.

ALSO READ: #IUF2015: Internet Ungovernance Forum 2015 Brazil

The protesters demand that their badges be returned and that the right of each and every one to express themselves democratically is preserved in a United Nations event.

Casa da Cultura Digital Porto Alegre

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Erin Gallagher is a multimedia artist, translator and writer for Revolution News.