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STATEMENT, 12 June

Norway welcomes the Special Rapporteur and the timely report. We would like to express our strong commitment to your mandate, as well as appreciation for the principled and constructive approach to your work. We also find your country-visits valuable and important. The broad support for the mandate renewal during the March session (of the HRC) is a reflection of the respect the SR enjoys.

We commend the Special Rapporteur for presenting yet another comprehensive report on complex issue of challenges to freedom of expression in the digital age. Internet provide unique opportunities for innovation and development, for promoting human rights and for holding governments accountable (for their actions). Regrettably, it is also used for purposes of control and repression of journalists and media workers, human rights defenders and civil society.

The Freedom Online Coalition (where Norway is a member) has expressed deep concern over the growing trend of “internet shutdowns”; state-sponsored disruptions of access to or dissemination of information online. We have seen this occur in connection with elections or peaceful protest. This restricts freedom of expression, but also undermine the economic benefits of the Internet.

The report addresses the role of the private sector and digital industry and provides concrete recommendations for further action. It provides an important basis to enhance the multi-stakeholder approach where technological development and protection of freedom of expression go hand in hand.

I thank you.