Internet freedom beyond words: artists and creators capture Internet Universality and its ROAM principles

Internet freedom beyond words: artists and creators capture Internet Universality and its ROAM principles

A selected group of 18 artists, creators and communicators joined the UNESCO design workshop on Internet Universality and its associated ROAM principles from 3 to 5 May in Bangkok.

For the first time, the initiative directly links local creative practitioners with UNESCO’s conceptual framework of Internet Universality adopted by its Member States in 2015. The project aims at developing a collaborative artwork and raising awareness for an Internet that works for all based on four fundamental principles of human Rights, Openness, Accessibility and Multi-stakeholder participation - known as the ROAM principles.

Over the next few months, artists and creators from the region will work together to interpret the concept of Internet Universality and develop their own artistic expressions under the supervision of Sali Sasaki, graphic designer and writer specialized in social and cultural development. “It is important to remind ourselves that in modern history, artists have played an important role in addressing human rights and used visual culture to trigger positive changes in society”, she said when engaging with the participants on the role of art and design for Internet freedom.

The workshop comprised group works, discussions and application of design thinking leading to a collaborative artwork. Discussions focused on the relationships between the local and the global shaped through the Internet and the interpretation of the Internet as a window of opportunities but also as presenting challenges for freedom of speech.

Organized as part of UNESCO’s celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Thailand, this initiative highlights the importance of protecting and promoting artistic expressions as an integral part of people’s right to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas.”

UNESCO’s Global Reports on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development and Re|Shaping Cultural Policies launched jointly on this occasion highlight many similarities in the challenges faced by the media and culture professionals.  These include the attacks on artists and journalists, the rise of laws dealing with terrorism and state security, criminal defamation, religion or ‘traditional values’ to curb artistic and free expression, as well as other online restrictions such as filtering of content, blocking of websites or Internet shutdowns.

The artwork will be exhibited in Bangkok at the Thailand Creative and Design Center by the end of September 2018.

This activity was made possible thanks to the support of the Government of Sweden.

Access to the workshop report