Skype has a special relationship with Estonia: this is where our software was born, and where it continues to be developed in our largest office worldwide, in Tallinn. We are still humbled by how, in the just nine years since its birth in Tallinn and Luxembourg, Skype has enabled hundreds of millions of people the world over to communicate more freely, bringing them closer together, even when they’re apart. At the same time, we’ve campaigned relentlessly for an open Internet and for removing barriers to communication.
So we are delighted that for the third year in a row, our ‘home nation’ Estonia has been ranked the world’s number one country for Internet and digital media freedom. In its Freedom on the Net 2012 report, NGO Freedom House (@FreedomHouseDC) conducted its third in a series of a comprehensive studies of Internet freedom in 47 countries around the globe, ranking them depending upon Obstacles to Access, Limits on Content, and Violation of User Rights. Estonian President Toomas Hendrick Ilves, joining the presentation by video call from New York where he was participating in the U.N. General Assembly meeting, noted that Estonia’s ranking can be attributed to a number of factors including the country’s focus on inclusiveness (ensuring everyone has access to the Internet), transparency – facilitated by e-government, and of course the value the country places on Free Expression as a fundamental right. We are proud of this achievement and hope that it will encourage many other countries around the world to follow suit: to guarantee freedom of speech online and offline, and to enable everyone to enjoy access to the Internet without undue barriers.
Tänan teid ja õnne Eesti! (flag:EE)
[Thank you and congratulations, Estonia!]