Thursday, August 23, 2012

TeliaSonera to step up fight against censorship

TeliaSonera announced additional measures aimed at improving its work regarding privacy and freedom of expression issues at its EurAsia operations. In connection with a shareholders meeting today, chief executive Lars Nyberg presented a host of new measures to further highlight these issues at group level. 
As regards the criticism directed at TeliaSonera related to violations of human rights, Nyberg said that by continuing to develop the company's change progamme he wants to show that TeliaSonera takes this issue very seriously and wants to be leading in this field.
One of the changes is that group management will evaluate any authority's request to implement restrictions or any other major actions in TeliaSonera's network. The first action at group level will be to ensure that decisions TeliaSonera takes truly are in line with laws and regulations, said Nyberg. Should this not be the case, then the company can take a number of actions such as appeal the decision, engage in dialogue with the local authorities or use diplomatic channels to question the decision. Group management is aware that even when local legislation is adhered to there might be an obvious risk that the requested action is in conflict with human rights, Nyberg added.
What's crucial is that group management takes responsibility, the chief executive said, mentioning two obvious advantages with this new way of working. First, it decreases the risk of local pressure on the company's employees in the countries, and second, of equal importance, is that this change will regularly remind the company's management to actually pursue these issues.
In parallel to these changes, TeliaSonera has started a partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights. The goal of the cooperation will be to carry out a human rights impact assessment, country by country. The analysis will be presented to the board and a summary will be included in its annual sustainability report.

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