The Puerto Rico Telecommunications Board is heading a collaborative effort with the Baltasar Garzón International Foundation, headed by Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón, to educate local judges and attorneys on human rights in the Internet era.
For the past several months, the organizations have been offering workshops on the international legal framework regarding the right to freedom of expression, privacy, consistent access to information, and its applicability in the context of the Internet.
During a roundtable discussion with members of the media on Tuesday, Garzón said the work aims to define the rules related to freedom of expression and access to information that resides online, and where Puerto Rico stands. He also said legal professionals, especially judges, must be provided with mechanisms they can turn to when deciding on cases.
“Puerto Rico is well-positioned on this, but there’s room for improvement,” Garzón said. “The Board’s initiatives are fundamental and [Board President Javier] Rúa has clearly identified the conjunction of the Internet, human rights, and citizen protection through online mechanisms as a topic of interest, and one that affects us all.”
“There are positive mechanisms already in place. The whole discussion about online transparency, bids, and other tools the government is laying down is a step in the right direction,” he said.
For his part, Rúa said: “Today, the national and international legal discussion on the implementation of human rights in the context of advanced online telecommunications is one of the key approaches of regulators, international organizations and states.”
“The work we’re doing makes it clear that civil and human rights established by law in our Bill of Rights, many of which have a strong international following, apply in digital contexts,” said Rúa.
Last Friday, the Board and the Spanish foundation offered the first of several free workshops focusing on the challenges posed by freedom of expression and access to information under current conditions. The next training session will take place May 8.