i This reference to “protect” does not mean that Participants have the State’s duty to protect human rights. Rather, GNI Participants work to protect privacy and freedom of expression by implementing these Principles, including developing collaborative strategies to engage governments.
ii It is recognized that other regional human rights instruments address the issues of freedom of expression and privacy, including: The European Convention, implemented by the European Court of Human Rights; the American Convention, implemented by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Inter-American Commission; and the Organization of African Unity, implemented by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
iii These Principles have also been drafted with reference to the World Summit on the Information Society Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.
iv These Principles were originally launched in 2008, prior to the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011 and the 2011 update to the OECD Guidelines.
v It should be noted that the specific scope of these Principles is limited to freedom of expression and privacy.
vi Taken from Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article of 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It should be noted that these Articles reference the right to “freedom of opinion and expression”, and then describe the limited circumstances in which the right to “freedom of expression” (i.e. not opinion) can be restricted. That is the approach taken by these Principles.
vii The narrowly defined circumstances should be taken from Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), namely the actions necessary to preserve national security and public order, protect public health or morals, or safeguard the rights or reputations of others. The scope of permissible restrictions provided in Article 19(3) of the ICCPR is read within the context of further interpretations issued by international human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Committee and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
viii See Annex A for an illustrative definition of Rule of Law.
ix These Principles have been drafted with reference to the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information. These Principles provide further guidance on how and when restrictions to freedom of expression may be exercised.
x Participating companies will also need to address situations where governments may make demands through proxies and other third parties.
xi Taken from Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
xii “Operational control” means the power, directly or indirectly, to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the entity. This may be by contract, ownership of voting stock or representation on the Board of Directors or similar governing body.
xiii See Annex A for a definition of Best Efforts.
xiv It is recognized that the influence of the participating company will vary across different relationships and contractual arrangements. It is also recognized that this principle applies to business partners, suppliers, investments, distributors and other relevant related parties that are involved in the participating company’s business in a manner that materially affects the company’s role in respecting and protecting privacy and freedom of expression. The participating company should prioritize circumstances where it has greatest influence and/or where the risk to freedom of expression and privacy is at its greatest.
xv It is recognized that participants may take different positions on specific public policy proposals or strategies, so long as they are consistent with these Principles.