A forum to facilitate a dialogue and identify shared policy goals between NGOs campaigning to protect child protection and children's rights online, and those campaigning for freedom of speech and other civil liberties.

Advocates of online child protection and freedom of expression both share a deep-seated belief in the vital importance of protecting basic human rights which are grounded in fundamental values of human autonomy and dignity. Yet a shared belief by both camps in the importance of state protection of these core human freedoms is often clouded by perceived (and real) opposition in the actual practice of law, policy and regulation. This has consequently restricted the policy options available for dealing with threats to both child safety and freedom of expression online, and has often resulted in non-governmental organisations representing these interests being portrayed as necessary opponents.

Given the significance of the values at stake, and the increasing importance of defending these in an international context where many countries continue to subvert them, the OII seeks to bring together thought-leaders from NGOs in both fields and representing different national international perspectives with a view to exploring the range of underlying principles and mapping areas of consensus and disagreement. This meeting will provide the basis for a report to be presented at the Internet Governance Forum in Sharm El-Shaikh to be held in November 2009.

The aims of this forum are:

  • To facilitate a dialogue between NGOs campaigning to protect respectively, child protection and childrenís rights online, and freedom of speech and other civil liberties online.

  • To promote a better understanding of each othersí positions, to share perspectives and information with a view to identifying areas of common ground and areas of disagreement.

  • To identify any shared policy goals, and possible tools to support the achievement of those goals.

  • To publicise the findings of the forum in international policy debates about Internet governance and regulation.