Information and knowledge are crucial factors in human development. We are reminded of this constantly, from the “knowledge economy” we live in, to the emotional and financial power that information and communications technologies (ICTs) have over our lives. In the words of philosopher Francis Bacon, “Scientia potentia est” – knowledge itself is power. Present-day movements for access to knowledge and the right to information have their origins in this simple and arguably ancient idea.
The purpose of this review was to look back over the past decade of country reports published in Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) and attempt to identify trends in civil society perspectives on what needed to be done to create a people-centred information society. The period for analysis was, more accurately, just over a decade: 2007-2017, during which a GISWatch report was produced each year – a total of 11 reports.
The methodology used to conduct the research for Unshackling Expression is based on a methodology developed by SMEX. This chapter provides an overview of the methodology's development and use. For the purposes of our own research, the methodology, insofar as it related to the classification of laws into legal foundations, fundamental rights and freedoms, governance of online and networked spaces, sectoral laws and other laws, was especially helpful in defining the scope and limitations.