Statement by Sally Burch

I have participated in many UN meetings over the years, either as a journalist or communication rights activist, always with a constructive perspective.  I have never expressed disruptive attitudes, much less advocated violence.  Therefore, the only explanation I can find for my deportation from Argentina is that the government finds my opinions and analysis “disruptive” (to use the term employed by a member of the foreign ministry) of its neoliberal and pro-corporate agenda.  Some of these ideas might include:

- That issues of grave importance for humanity, with implications for human rights, development, freedom of expression or the environment, should not be decided behind closed doors, between big governments and big corporations, with no participation of civil society nor democratic process, such as often occurs in the WTO.

- That the proposals tabled for e-commerce negotiations in the WTO serve the interests of the big transnational internet corporations, and not those of the people or of developing countries.

- That proposals for “free flow of data” mean that everyone’s personal data become a commodity for the big corporations to exploit, with no personal benefit and no privacy rights.

- That the present model of the Internet and artificial intelligence, concentrated in the hands of big corporations, runs contrary to the public interest and presents serious threats to democracy.  The e-commerce negotiations, as presented, would tend to strengthen this model.

In any case, if it is true that this is the reason, it would be a very serious matter to exclude participation on the basis of opinions, and all the more serious for the WTO if they admit that.

Sally Burch, December 10, 2017

Also available in Spanish.