The Summary Report 2002 Media release

The IFLA/FAIFE Summary Report 2002: Libraries, Conflicts and the Internet discusses Internet accessible information and censorship; present an overview of the global situation relating to libraries and information services and intellectual freedom; look at the Internet as the information tool of the 21st century; introduce the topic "libraries and conflicts", which sadly enough has become more and more pressing for the international library community; and finally discuss some of the possibilities on how to respond when intellectual freedoms are at stake. Price: 10 USD. Available from: The IFLA/FAIFE Office: faife@ifla.org

Promoting internationally accepted values and ethics in the wake of the "war against terrorism"

Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual both to hold and express opinions and to seek and receive information; it is the basis of democracy; and it is at the core of library service. In an increasingly interconnected world, information is more crucial than ever. The human right to freedom of expression and freedom of access to information is the foundation of both individual and societal autonomy. Unhindered access to information is essential to freedom, equality, global understanding and peace.

The Chair of the IFLA/FAIFE Committee Mr Alex Byrne said: "Since the launch of the first IFLA/FAIFE World Report in August 2001 the world has witnessed the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and in the subsequent "war against terrorism". In several countries parliaments have passed terrorist acts. Most include provisions limiting access to information and, often, freedom of speech. In some countries freedom of access to information is definitely at stake. Surveillance of Internet use and email communication in libraries may be one of the undesirable consequences for libraries and information services and their users - protecting the privacy of their clients a new demanding task. Use of Internet filtering, censorship and self-censorship are other examples of how we react, in the name of democracy, when we feel democracy is threatened. How far we will go and how can we safeguard the role of libraries and information services as institutions providing access to information. The situation has reinforced the importance of promoting vigorously internationally accepted values and ethics".

Armed conflicts and access to information

We have witnessed armed conflicts in Afghanistan and the dramatic escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The destruction of libraries, library materials and administrative and cultural heritage documents has been reported in these and other areas. The report debates how the international library community can respond to this challenge.

The Internet and the digital divide

The use of Internet is generally growing by the month. At the same time the information gap between developed and developing countries increases. Though we are also witnessing a growth in Internet use in developing countries it cannot in any way match that of the information-rich nations. The past year has shown an increase in the use-by-payment services on the Internet - unaffordable for libraries and their clients in developing countries. Instead of attempts to narrow the digital divide it seems a further decrease should be our concern. The special focus on the Internet, libraries and information services and conflicts in this year's IFLA/FAIFE Summary Report is a contribution to advance the discussion of these topics.

About FAIFE - an IFLA Core Activity

FAIFE is an initiative within IFLA to defend and promote the basic human rights defined in Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The FAIFE Committee and Office further freedom of access to information and freedom of expression in all aspects, directly or indirectly, related library and information services.

FAIFE monitors the state of intellectual freedom within the library and information community worldwide, supports IFLA policy development and cooperation with other international human rights organisations, and responds to violations of freedom of access to information and freedom of expression.

IFLA/FAIFE World Report Series

The IFLA/FAIFE World Report on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom, published in 2001, was the first attempt to systematically collect information on freedom of access to information related to libraries and information services and their customers and provided a picture on the status of intellectual freedom with regards to libraries and information services and librarianship in a global perspective.
To offer timely and detailed summaries of the state of intellectual freedom and libraries worldwide, we have developed The IFLA/FAIFE World Report Series: the IFLA/FAIFE World Report published bi-annually and in alternate years the IFLA/FAIFE Summary Report. We would like the series to become the authoritative source on libraries and information services and intellectual freedom in a global perspective.

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to knowledge, Access to information, Freedom of expression, Freedom of information

Last update: 5 October 2012