G20 leaders: put free speech on the agenda!

Index on censorship has called upon the G20 countries to put free speech on the agenda when they meet in Saint Petersburg, Russia for a summit on 5-6 September.

Index on Censorship Campaigns and Policy Director Marek Marczynski said:

“The G20 should not solely be about advancing economic development but also about advancing the human rights of citizens within the G20 and beyond. Following recent revelations about mass surveillance by the US, the UK and other countries, it is more important than ever that they clearly express their commitment to freedom of speech, the freedom of the media and individuals’ rights to privacy. The G20 should be on the forefront of protecting those rights and freedoms in their own countries and globally.”

Files leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed the extent of surveillance by the NSA in the US and GCHQ in the UK. It is time for the G20 leaders to be transparent about the activities they carry out in the name of national security and consider the impact that they have on their citizens. Any measures to restrict freedom of speech, privacy and other human rights in the name of the fight against terrorism should be within the permissible legal limits. They can only be justified if they are necessary in a democratic society.

In the lead up to the summit, Index has been publishing articles exploring the free expression records of some of the G20 nations. The ongoing series can be found here.

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