UNESCO Guidelines

The Guidelines aim is safeguarding freedom of expression and access to information online in the context of the development and implementation of digital platform regulatory processes.
The Guidelines outline a set of duties, responsibilities and roles for States, digital platforms, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, media, academia, the technical community and other stakeholders to enable the environment where freedom of expression and information are in the core of digital platforms governance processes.
The Guidelines were produced through a multi-stakeholder consultation that gathered more than 10,000 comments from 134 countries. These global-scale consultations fostered inclusive participation, ensuring a diversity of voices to be heard, including those from groups in situation of marginalization and vulnerability.
The Guidelines are available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian.
UNESCO’s global mandate, which includes the promotion of “the free flow of ideas by word and image”, has guided the Organisation’s work for nearly 80 years as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter for international cooperation. This history has shaped our mandate within the United Nations system to protect and promote freedom of expression, access to information, and safety of journalists.
In November 2021, the UNESCO’s 41st General Conference endorsed the principles of the Windhoek+30 Declaration, following a multi stakeholder process that began at the global celebration of World Press Freedom Day in May of that year.
In light of this, and based on relevant principles, conventions, and declarations over the past decade, the UNESCO is now developing, through multi stakeholder consultations and a global dialogue, Guidelines for regulating digital platforms: a multi stakeholder approach to safeguarding freedom of expression and access to information (the Guidelines).
Update (July, 2023)
Dozens of GNI members have participated in the consultations on these Guidelines. Our engagement stems from our long-standing respect for UNESCO and its role in protecting freedom of opinion and expression globally. GNI hopes that these comments, as well as those of our members, will be taken into account going forward.