Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be with you here this morning and let me offer a very warm welcome to all participants.
I would like to start by saying how flattered I was by the attention that was given to the informal, impromptu remarks I made at 2pm on the 23rd of April, during this working group’s last meeting. I suppose that mentioning the word ‘Internet’ wakes everybody up, and gets them to pay attention.
Those remarks were recorded on the webcast of the meeting, so I am surprised that I seem to have been misquoted in some reports. I have reviewed the report of your last meeting, however, and my remarks have been correctly summarized there. Let us therefore consider the matter closed and move forward with our busy schedule here over the next three days.
Please also rest assured that these present remarks will be duly published on ITU’s web site; and I would also request that they be annexed verbatim to the report of this meeting.
I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on a number of important issues which have found their way into various realms of the public domain over the past few months, and which have not – on the whole – been helpful in terms of clarifying the plain facts and the potential benefits we can hope to achieve through the WCIT-12 event.
Firstly, there has been fairly widespread comment stating that WCIT may set barriers to the free flow of information.
In article 33 of the ITU’s Constitution, however, Member States recognize the right of the public to correspond by means of the international service of public correspondence.
And the ITRs cannot contradict that provision.
It is true nonetheless that all countries impose some restrictions on various forms of speech, including telecommunications – for example to protect copyright owners and to prevent defamation.
Some countries go further and restrict the use of...