The Internet should have an open and distributed architecture, and should continue to be based on open standards and application interfaces and guarantee interoperability so as to enable a common exchange of information and knowledge. Opportunities to share ideas and information on the Internet are integral to promoting freedom of expression, media pluralism and cultural diversity. Open standards support innovation and competition, and a commitment to network neutrality promotes equal and non-discriminatory access to and exchange of information on the Internet.
In accordance with the principle of network neutrality, all data on the Internet must be treated in an equal and non-discriminatory manner, and shall not be charged differentially, according to user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication. The architecture of the Internet is to be preserved as a vehicle for free, open, equal and non-discriminatory exchange of information, communication and culture. There should be no special privileges for, or obstacles against, the exchange of information online or any party or content on economic, social, cultural or political grounds. However, nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as preventing affirmative action aimed at ensuring substantive equality for marginalised peoples or groups.
This research was carried out by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) as part of the OpenNet Africa initiative (www.opennetafrica.org), which monitors and promotes Internet freedom in Africa.