Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.
At the UN-sponsored Internet Governance Forum in Brazil this week, several activists were stopped from demonstrating in support of net neutrality and against Facebook’s Internet.org application, which is now known as “Free Basics”. Civil society advocates were rattled by the incident, given that the IGF is specifically intended to focus on the protection of fundamental rights online and to welcome participation from all sectors of society.
The activists walked through the opening plenary session of the event, holding signs that read “No to Net Neutrality violation in Brazil and all the world!” and “Free Basics = Free of Basic Rights.” Multiple videos captured by conference participants show security guards and UN coordinating staff taking the signs from the demonstrators’ hands and forcibly removing them from the hall. The activists’ identification documents were briefly seized and their credentials were confiscated by organizers.