G7 Open Societies Pact on Universal Rights


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: G7

Mains level: Open Societies Pact

India has signed off on a joint statement by G-7 and guest countries on “open societies” that reaffirm and encourage the values of “freedom of expression, both online and offline, as a freedom that safeguards democracy and helps people live free from fear and oppression”.

What is the Open Societies Pact?

  • The ‘Open Societies Statement’ was adopted at the end of an outreach session titled ‘Building Back Together—Open Societies and Economies’, where PM Modi was invited as a lead speaker.
  • The joint statement was signed by the G-7 countries, and India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa, with host British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling them “Democracies 11”.
  • It refers to “politically motivated internet shutdowns” as one of the threats to freedom and democracy.
  • It affirms “human rights for all, both online and offline, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other HR instruments, and opposition to any form of discrimination, so that everyone can participate fully and equally in society”.

Why needs such a pact?

  • Democracy and freedom were a part of India’s civilizational ethos”.
  • However, the common concern is that open societies are particularly vulnerable to disinformation and cyber-attacks.

Impact of the pact

  • While the statement is directed at China and Russia, India has been under scrutiny over Internet curbs in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Moreover, the center is locked in a face-off over its new IT rules with tech giants such as Twitter, which described a police search at its offices in India last month as a “potential threat to freedom of expression”.

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