News24

UN backs online rights

2012-07-05 15:55

Geneva - The United Nations' main office for human rights for the first time said people had a right to freedom of expression on the internet and called on Thursday on all states to protect it.

In speeches, both China and Cuba voiced reservations, but joined the consensus at the 47-member state UN Human Rights Council which adopted the landmark resolution presented by Sweden.

"This outcome is momentous for the Human Rights Council," said Eileen Donahoe, ambassador for Washington which co-sponsored the motion with Brazil and Tunisia.

"It's the first ever UN resolution affirming that human rights in the digital realm must be protected and promoted to the same extent and with the same commitment as human rights in the physical world," she told reporters.

China's envoy backed the motion but said people also needed to be protected from harmful websites.

"We believe that the free flow of information on the internet and the safe flow of information on the internet are mutually dependent," Xia Jingge told the assembly.

"As the internet develops rapidly, online gambling, pornography, violence, fraud and hacking are increasing its threat to the legal rights of society and the public."

Comments
  • luke.gray.549668 - 2012-07-05 16:57

    Only they will decide what is "harmful" and draw links to substantiate the censoring or blocking of content. The digital world is not an ideal one, and neither is real life. Trying to control and "protect" us from digital darwinism will be equivalent changing the weather in the physical world. Well thats my take on it anyway, I just dont believe in turning the internet into something that its not.

  • Tommo - 2012-07-05 17:29

    Now why would China and Cuba be a just a little apprehensive about such a seemingly important decision???

  • craig.a.salter - 2012-07-06 11:55

    e-rights is big but also controversial. But then again it all boils down to political propaganda as always

  • badballie - 2012-07-06 15:15

    Good, I am so pleased, would love to see the look on the face of the US judge that just refuted the right to privacy and the right to freedom of speech on twitter.

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