Internet access a fundamental human right: OSCE

Jul 08, 2011
An Iranian woman surfs the Internet at a cyber cafe in central Tehran in January 2011. Access to the Internet should be seen as a fundamental human right and respected as much as freedom of expression, the transatlantic security body OSCE said in a report Friday.

Access to the Internet should be seen as a fundamental human right and respected as much as freedom of expression, the transatlantic security body OSCE said in a report Friday.

"Everyone should have a right to participate in the information society and states have a responsibility to ensure citizens’ access to the Internet is guaranteed," the report, presented in Vienna, said.

The analysis was the first ever of state regulations on Internet access within the 56-member OSCE.

"Some governments already recognise access to the Internet as a human right. This trend should be supported as a crucial element of media freedom in the 21st century," the OSCE's media representative Dunja Mijatovic told journalists upon presentation of the report.

Finland and Estonia have already done so, the OSCE praised.

And since last year, Finnish citizens have a legal right to , the first country to lay down such a rule, while Norway had also taken steps in that direction, it noted.

However, seven other states admitted they had regulations allowing them to limit access to the Internet in cases of state emergencies, to defend national security and to protect public health.

At least 10 states also failed to submit any data to the OSCE for its report.

"Legislation in many countries does not recognise that freedom of expression and freedom of the media equally apply to Internet as a modern means of exercising these rights," Mijatovic noted.

As a result, the organisation offered guidelines to ensure that citizens' access to the Web was guaranteed, such as clearly wording laws, refraining from blocking content and generally respecting of expression and of the media.

"We will use the study as an advocacy tool to promote speech-friendly Internet regulation in the OSCE participating States," Mijatovic said.

Explore further: Premier US album chart revamped to include streaming

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China defends Internet 'Great Firewall'

Jun 08, 2010

China on Tuesday defended its right to censor the Internet, saying it needed to do so to ensure state security, and cautioned other nations to respect how it polices the world's largest online population.

US lawmakers seek action on Internet freedom

Mar 09, 2010

US lawmakers from the two major parties on Tuesday issued a joint call for government action to ensure Internet freedom overseas amid alarm at China's cyber-censorship.

Recommended for you

YouTube goes online for second Music Awards

Nov 20, 2014

The YouTube Music Awards are undergoing an overhaul for their second edition next year, scrapping a star-studded gala and instead looking at videos' online buzz.

China Premier calls for greater role in shaping Web

Nov 20, 2014

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Thursday demanded a greater role for Beijing in shaping the global Internet, calling for "order" online as he failed to address his government's censorship of content it deems politically ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jul 09, 2011
Republican Americans commonly state that Basic human rights do not include a right to food, clothing, shelter, or education.

But of course they do insist that basic human rights include the right to own a gun.

Cave_Man
1 / 5 (1) Jul 09, 2011
YEAH! Because everyone should have internet even if they can't feed themselves or live on the street.

Why don't you stupid bureaucrats start working on a real problem instead of some bullshit like this.

An encyclopedia doesn't require much skill to operate, you don't need electricity to use it and yet owning one is not a fundamental human right, nor is literacy.

I'm not saying the right to use the net should not be protected as a freedom but just that there are WAY more important issues than this. Seriously.

If they make some amendment or law about the right to twitter im gonna freaking kill myself.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.