The Internet Freedom Fellows program brings human rights activists from across the globe to Geneva and Washington, D.C. to meet with fellow activists, U.S. and international government leaders, and members of civil society and the private sector engaged in technology and human rights. A key goal of the program is to share experiences and lessons learned on the importance of a free Internet to the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as fundamental human rights.

Communication shapes the way societies are built and every person should have the right to express his/her ideas, feelings and emotions as well as hopes for the future. The protection of an individual’s right to freedom of expression and assembly is an integral part of a free and democratic society where these rights are essential human rights. In the beginning of 21st century a new challenge facing all societies is Internet Freedom.  Ensuring that individuals have the same rights of freedom of expression and assembly on the Internet as they are entitled to elsewhere is one of the human rights challenges of the present moment.

The principal goal of the program is simple — to highlight the essential importance of a free internet to the promotion of human rights at the grass roots level.  By identifying and involving grass roots human rights activists from around the world, the program will highlight in a tangible manner why and how a free internet is essential to their work.

In building the program, we have continued to strengthen and broaden it.  In particular, we continue to work with previous years’ Fellows to build networks that can strengthen and defend freedom of expression across the globe.  In recognition of the important interplay between global networks and individual freedoms, we continue to seek greater involvement from civil society and technology companies in the discussion of internet freedom and how these different actors can and must work together to protect individual freedoms on the internet in the support of Human Rights.

Launched in 2011, the Internet Freedom Fellows program is an initiative of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. Core partners for the 2014 Program GMedia Center, a Geneva based NGO which works to empower media to further civil society goals; and Meridian International Center, a Washington D.C. based NGO promoting international understanding through exchange programs.

g-media150 meridian