Sarah Josephine Liberty Founder & CEO of JustSociale, Most Successful CEOs of the Year - 2021 Profile

Sarah Josephine Liberty
Founder & CEO of JustSociale

Sarah Josephine Liberty Founder & CEO of JustSociale, Most Successful CEOs of the Year - 2021

“A Champion Advocate”

The internet is still in its infancy. Like an infant, it lacks rules and self-control. As it grows, flaws emerge – lack of data privacy, digital monopolisation and cybersecurity breaches. But for Sarah Liberty, Australia isn’t addressing one major concern: online human rights. It’s why she founded JustSociale, Australia’s first federal NGO dedicated to promoting people’s human rights on the internet.

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve been passionate about fairness, equality, inclusion, diversity and human rights. And I’ve always used the internet professionally, even since the MySpace days before Facebook was created! I’ve always been fascinated by how it influences society,” she says. “In Paris last year, I took a course in Internet Governance whilst completing my Master of International Relations (Human Rights) at Sciences Po. It’s the same degree the past 3 French presidents have done – it was intense!”

According to Sarah, “I not only learned about the latest internet trends, but also about the many positive and negative impacts on people around the world. We use social media and the internet daily to connect with friends and loved ones, grow businesses, start movements and create change like Greta Thunberg did. Yet at the same time, tech platforms like Facebook are more powerful than countries, and there is a growing sense of disillusionment and distrust with the major players.”

Her online human rights are no different to our offline human rights.

The UNHCR declared this in 2012, and referred directly to the first International Bill of Human Rights written by the UN in 1948. It declares that all humans are worthy of dignity and respect, and entitled to freedom from fear.

In 1966, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 stated that ‘everyone holds the right to hold opinions without interference’ and ‘everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression’, which includes the ‘freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.’

It means that anyone who fails to treat others with dignity and respect online – or makes them feel afraid, threatened or distressed – is abusing another person’s online human rights. Additionally, good digital citizenship (a concept developed by UNESCO) involves respecting others’ freedom of expression and opinions, unless they are detrimental to a person’s reputation or security.

The groups who we see most impacted, and who have their online human rights violated in Australia, are women.

1 in 3 women have experienced some form of online harassment or abuse, along with the LGBTQI community, Indigenous Australians, CALD Australians and refugees or asylum seekers.

JustSociale has developed Australia’s first Online Code of Conduct to protect the human rights of internet users. Can you tell us who the code is intended for, and how to become a signatory?

The Online Code of Conduct is intended for anyone who wants to demonstrate their commitment to Internet governance in Australia. This means showing their audience, clientele and users that they take their online human rights and responsibilities seriously, and will strive to be a good digital citizen – both at an individual and organisational level.

JustSociale prides itself on an inclusive board selected to represent the voices, concerns and needs of diverse Australians. ‘I’m truly honoured to have such a diverse board. I made a deliberate decision to pursue it from the organisation's early days, when I was still finishing my Masters in Paris,” she says. “We have high profile Transgender Authority Melissa Griffiths, high profile Indigenous Board Member, Former Young Conservationist of the Year and Tedx Speaker Josh Gilbert, high profile Disability Influencer and Model Lisa Cox, Digital Guru and Postgraduate Psychology student Nicholas Riggs, Digital Communications Maven and Online Meditation Teacher Ashley Hunt, Director of Womens’ March Sydney Jaime Evans, Associate Professor John Mikler from Sydney University’s Political Science department, and myself as Chair.” IEWL




Sarah Josephine Liberty
Founder & CEO of JustSociale


JustSociale is a new federal NGO launched to promote awareness of and to defend the human rights of Australians online. We are a formally accredited charity with the Australian Not-for-profits and Charities Commission.

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