United Nations report: Internet access is a human right

Publicado Originalmente: 03/06/2011

Internet access is a human right, according to a United Nations report released on Friday.

“Given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states,” said the report from Frank La Rue, a special rapporteur to the United Nations, who wrote the document “on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

La Rue said in his report that access to the Internet is particularly important during times of political unrest, as demonstrated by the recent “Arab Spring” uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, among other countries.

The report notes that while the Internet has been in existence since the 1960s, it is the way people now use the Internet, across the world and across age groups, with “incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life,” that makes the Internet an unprecedented force.

DOCUMENT: Read the United Nations report

“According to the International Telecommunication Union, the total number of Internet users worldwide is now over 2 billion,” the report said, also pointing out the huge growth in the number of active users on Facebook, which has surged from 150 million in 2009 to 600 million this year.

La Rue also urges governments to eschew laws that allow for people’s access to the Internet to be blocked.

La Rue describes the Internet as “revolutionary” and unlike any other communication medium such as radio, television or printed publications, which are “based on one-way transmission of information.”

The Internet, on the other hand, is an “interactive medium” that allows not only for the sharing of information, but also “collaboration in the creation of content,” which makes people “no longer passive recipients, but also active publishers of information.”

As such, the Internet can be a tool of empowerment and aid in the protection of and access to other human rights — as well as contributing to growth economically, socially and politically — benefiting mankind as a whole.

But while La Rue argues that Internet access is a basic human right, he also notes that giving people that right isn’t yet always feasible in every nation. But that shouldn’t stop governments from trying to give their people affordable access to the Web.

FONTE: Los Angeles Time


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