RightsCon session videos|IGF

Access Now: Christchurch Call emphasizes human rights, but needs meaningful participation and transparency for rights-respecting outcome

Today, a group of governments led by New Zealand, and major tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Twitter, signed and published the “Christchurch Call,” a voluntary pledge with commitments aimed at eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online.  

Access Now participated in a meeting in Paris on Tuesday, May 14, called Voices for Action, along with other civil society organizations, academics, and think tanks, to discuss the commitments of the Call. It was an opportunity to welcome the chance to work together on the serious issues at stake, but also to highlight to the government of New Zealand, which hosted the gathering, the worrying flaws with the process that should be addressed if signatories seek to address these difficult issues in a manner that respects human rights.

The Christchurch Call rightly puts an accent on the importance of protecting human rights when regulating online content, including when dealing with content that is horrifically violent. It is imperative that governments around the world, and in particular the G7, also center human rights when working on future similar initiatives,” said Javier Pallero. “Nevertheless, any attempt to set policies or binding regulations that impact online speech will be successful only if it is truly inclusive and genuinely garners insight and expertise from civil society, something that the Christchurch Call disappointingly fell short of.

Read our full commentary on the Christchurch Call, which includes our detailed critique and recommendations, here.

Related: read our newly published discussion paper, aimed at helping companies such as Facebook in developing content moderation practices that align with international human rights standards.